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Sent donation - please answer :(
Jun 5, 2006

Hi again,

I recently sent you two questions and have not heard back from you, which worries me a little in thinking that I wouldn't want to hear the answers. I will try to consolidate my questions.

The CDC has a list of symptoms of HIV and I am confused. First, what are the red,white, pink, etc. marks on skin that is mentioned? Are these things that start turning up withthin a year or so after initial infection or is this a later symptom of advanced HIV? What do they look/feel like? Same with all of the other symptoms listed, are they things that take a long time to surface?

2) I was tested for Hep C Surface antigens along with my first HIV test, what is this? Is this a Hep C test or something different?

3) Do you feel that Quest lab is accurate, do they do the ELISA test? I have no idea which test was done, just HIV antibody.....should I feel confident that it's accurate?

4) I was also tested for a large life insurance policy, at about 10 months. A nurse came to my house to draw blood. Should I consider their testing accurate? I have no idea which lab they use or which test is performed. DO you think I should find out? (It was neg.)

I know I am among the people that waste your time and I'm so sorry, but like everyone else, am trying to put this fear aside, but always seem to think of another reason that I can't, and I DID have two encounters with no protection, and unknown status.

Thank you and I did donate $100 the other day, I will try to send more soon.

WW (worried woman)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried Woman,

1. I'm not exactly sure what "list of symptoms of HIV" from the CDC you are referring to. I would guess it's symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome, which occurs several weeks after infection. Why not give the CDC a call and have them explain their list? Also, you can read all about acute retroviral syndrome symptoms in the archives of this forum, as I've addressed that topic numerous times over the years and there is no new information to report.

2. Again, you should probably be asking the doctor who ordered the tests, rather than me. Without seeing your lab reports, I can't really determine what was ordered. Generally speaking, the "surface antigen" test refers to hepatitis B, not C.

3. Yes, Quest is a well respected laboratory. If you have no idea what test was done, I certainly would not know either? Call Quest; ask them! Should you fee confident that your results are accurate? Yes, assuming you were tested outside the window period.

4. Yes, of course it was accurate. Do you really think an insurance company would want to miss something like HIV on their screening?

My advice is simple. If you've had a negative HIV test three months or more after your last potential exposure, stop worrying and start WOO-HOO-ing. If you haven't had a test three months or more after your last potential exposure, then get one. Worrying and symptom searching are not helpful.

Stop being a WW (worried woman) and start being W (well!) .

Thanks for your donation. Your one gift will touch many lives.

Dr. Bob



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