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Italian model tries AGAIN :)
Dec 19, 2005

Hi Dr. Bob!! First and foremost i want to congratulate u on all the amazing work you do! You provide so much insight and hope for so many desperate people. Perhaps you can shed some of that light on this desperate soul! I am a 27 year old Italian male model now turned teacher (i love kids) who has been going through an endless draining hopeless journey for 19 months now. Ill paint the picture for you. In early 2004, while modelling in Miami, i started taking my health for granted and exposed myself to about 5 men whose hiv status i did not know. Each men i swallowed during oral sex, 2 of which i did repeatedly (I KNOW HOW STUPID!?!?! STUPID STUPID! anyhow whats done is done. I was under the impression at that time that hiv was only transmitted through unprotected anal intercourse, a doctor had told me earlier that swallowing semen posed no risk as stomach acid kills it immediately..what a load of S***...anyhow what followed after the last enounter remains one of the biggest medical mysteries in my city. Im not going to bore you with all of it but ill be completely honest and let you know that i came down with ARS syndrome symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, skin boils on my neck the size of an egg, loss of 15 llbs in a week, constant headaches, complete change in bowel , only diarrhea now and several stools a day, follicilitus, non stop floaters in left eye, burning tongue and thrush diagnosed, and peripheral neuropathy that was just diagnosed at John Hopkins International. Whats more is that these symptoms are persistent and daily since the episode began almost 2 years ago and i have sought numerous hiv antibody and even hiv1 pcr tests (never tested for rare strains). Whats most alarming and upsetting to me is how my one time model physique has transformed to resemble that of an undernourished sick individual. I have this huge gut that was once a six pack, along with total loss of fat on legs, extreme loss of fat on limbs of arms and under my eyes and near temple are sunken as my cheeks are thinning out too. My doctors have taken fat measurements over the last year and mutually agree that i am suffering lipodystrophy as the lipids in my fat and trigylcerides are escalating. They are totally puzzled and are now in the works of contacting CDC. So why am i writing to you, you may wonder? Well, i truely admire your opinion and hold your expertise way up there in my books. What do you think is going on here? I have a wonderful family, partner whose been amazing, career, and social life and inspire the children i work with daily. I do not feel depressed as i am fully functioning and enjoy life and wold never give up. 3 of my doctors were sure if was HIV before the tests came back negative. Can this be true? What are your thoughts? Oh, one last thing. I ran into the man who i assume infected me and he told me that hes slept with hundreds of men unprotected and wouldnt even know if he were infected as he hasnt been tested. Interestingly though, he shares the same body composition as I do. Please help, i will send a donation immediatelly, i truly am in awe of your inspiration.

Confused and hopeful you will respond,

Gino

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Gino,

Unfortunately I cannot diagnose your condition over the Internet. However, if you have had "numerous HIV antibody and even HIV-1 PCR tests" that have been negative out to 19 months from your last possible exposure, it is very doubtful that HIV is the cause of your symptoms. As I have noted numerous times in this forum, symptoms, no matter what they are, do not equal HIV disease.

So, once HIV has been definitively and repeatedly ruled out, what should you do next? I don't know from where you are writing, but diagnostic dilemmas are often best evaluated at medical centers. For instance, at Stanford and at the University of California San Francisco, two of the medical centers at which I have spent considerable time, we frequently evaluated complex and/or confusing conditions that required specialized diagnostic testing or a multidepartmental approach. My best advice to you is that if your physicians have definitively eliminated HIV from your differential diagnosis, believe them. Don't chase after an illness you fear you might have. Rather, focus your attention on what you actually do have.

Should your extended diagnostic evaluation reveal HIV (extremely doubtful) or an immune deficiency syndrome that resembles HIV (such as ICL, idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia) and you have additional questions or concerns, please write back. Or if another diagnosis is confirmed, write back and we'll post that information for our readers. And on a personal note, feel free to include some of those Miami Beach modeling shots!

Thanks for your willingness to help others (www.concertedeffort.org). I'm confident that with the proper detective work and your excellent attitude, the underlying cause of your symptoms and hopefully a prompt cure will soon become manifest.

Good luck, Gino!

Dr. Bob



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