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Worried Sick
Oct 19, 2005

Hi Doc, I hope you can give me some advise or reassurance. 13 yrs ago I discovered my partner of 2 yrs had AIDS (he knew but never told me) I also found out the same day I was pregnant! I discovered it when he was hospitalised with AIDS. The Dr at the hospital gave me an HIV test, I dont know what it was but he said it was a little different than a std test and was quicker. It came back neg. i had more tests at 2, 3, 6 months. Over the 12 months from exposure I had 11 tests in all that were neg. About 2 yrs ago I had shingles and 3 yrs ago I had touble with my vision in one eye and my retina became detatched and I had surgery. I tested positive for toxoplasmosis. The eye Dr didn't know what caused my eye problem, guessed it was the toxo. but I am now convinced it was CMV retina. I am now 32yr and have two kids 11 and 8 who seem healthy. I never had the baby to my ex. I don't see how my partner at the time could have AIDS and get me pregnant but I am negative?? He died 2 yrs later. Should I be worried? I stopped having tests 12 months after exposure cause my doctor said 11 tests were enough and emotionally I couldn't cope. 13 yrs later I am worried sick. Please advise if I have reason to be concerned!! I am relatively healthy apart from the above I mentioned. Scared senseless though.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Do you have reason to be concerned? No, absolutely not. I totally agree with your doctor. Eleven negative HIV tests out to 12 months after your last exposure are definitive and conclusive. You are HIV negative. The important concept for you to understand is that not every exposure to HIV results in HIV transmission. It is entirely possible in reality it's a fact that your HIV-positive ex had AIDS and did indeed impregnate you without transmitting the virus to you!

Shingles is a common medical problem (reactivation of the chicken pox virus), and the vast majority of cases have nothing to do with HIV. Likewise, a detached retina can result from many medical conditions and you are wrong to "convince" yourself it was CMV retinitis. Your positive toxoplasmosis test most likely indicated past infection (a common occurrence), not the type of active toxoplasmosis seen in AIDS patients, in which case it is an active opportunistic infection.

At this point being "scared senseless" is completely unwarranted, as worries that you are HIV positive make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Bottom line: HIV is not your problem; however, anxiety and irrational fear could indeed become a problem for you. I'd suggest you seek counseling to help you cope with those problems. OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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