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i'm terrified, any help appreciated
May 23, 2006

Hi Dr Bob,

You seem very caring and I am living in an absolute hell at the moment terrified that I'm hiv positive. About six weeks ago I was anally raped. I had symptoms which were weight loss, rash and loss of appetite which my doctor attirbutes to trauma but I'm sure it's something more. I have had three hiv tests - one following the assault, another four weeks after and the last one was six weeks after. All were negative. Since then I have had difficulty with my peripheral vision and I'm concerned about CMV retinitis as a complication from hiv. The doctor believes this is psycho somatic and refuses to do any more hiv tests until the three month test. I'm terrified of losing my sight and fear I'm losing my mind. I have attempted suicide several times and don't sleep at all. I am attending counselling and my family and friends have been wonderfully supportive. What do you think about the testing, the retinitis, etc?

Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'm sorry to hear about your recent traumatic experience.

I absolutely agree with your doctors regarding testing. Your four- and six-week tests are very encouraging. All you need now is a three-month test to definitively confirm your HIV-negative status.

As for symptoms, you do not have CMV retinitis. That is a late-stage complication of AIDS. Again, I agree with your doctor. Your symptoms are most likely directly related to psychological trauma resulting from your rape. If you have attempted suicide, you need to be under the care of a psychiatrist in addition to attending counseling sessions.

Your worries of being HIV positive are excessive and unwarranted, based on the information you provided. Yes, you need the three-month test for your "all clear," but even more importantly you need to address the psychological trauma caused by the entire experience. Please bring this post and my response to your next counseling session and show it to your therapist. It may very well help focus your therapy.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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