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Dr. Bob can you clear up this situation for me! :)
Aug 24, 2006

Hi Dr. Bob! So i have wrote you a few times and you have always helped me out. So, i was hoping you could do it just one more time? I had a six week oral test done back in May, which came back negative. The clinic worker where i had the test done told me that the test was only about 50 to 60% accurate and i would need to take another one at six months for a conclusive result. I did have another one done at 3 1/2 months, which i just got back today~ also negative. This Doctor told me that my test is 98% accurate and i would need another test after two years! She told me some people find they are positive two years down the road after they were infected! I didn't realize that that was possible. But then you told me after my 6 week test that after three months my test would be conclusive. So my final question to you is~ can i consider myself HIV negative or do i need to retest in two years? Thanks once again for all you do! You do amaze me! :) And don't forget you can always come ride an ostridge (or even an ostrich!) with me anytime you would like!!!

Oh yeah, if you need to freshen up on why i think i had HIV my first question was titled~ "i think i am a failure at life and need help".

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Ostrich Jockey,

My assessment has not changed. Your repeatedly negative HIV tests, now out to 3.5 months, are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. Stop worrying. Stop testing. Start yelling WOO-HOO! (What the hell else would one yell while riding an Ostrich anyway?)

I'll repost your previous questions below.

Stay well. Don't step in Ostrich poop.

Dr. Bob

I think I am a failure at life and need help- what do you think?

May 26, 2006

Dr. Bob~ I was hoping to get your opinion. I really want to know what you think. About 7+ weeks ago I had a unprotected one night stand. He didnt ejaculate in me; I dont even think he ejaculated at all. But because I was dry I think there was a little bit of tearing. About a week or two later I started to feel bloated and gassy. I also started to notice light cramping feeling in my lower abdomen, light earache, light headaches, and some lower back pain. Plus, some pain and aches in my elbow area, forearm area, and chest area (I know you have glands in those areas), I was also convinced my glands were swollen in my neck, armpit, and groin area, and I that I had a light sore throat. At this time I went to the local urgent care. I told the doctor that saw me that I was convinced I had contracted HIV. I told her my symptoms and she told me she didnt see anything wrong with me. My throat looked normal and my glands werent swollen and to get on some anxiety pills. She also tested my blood and urine for STIs, other than HIV, all which came back negative. I was feeling a little better but I still couldnt sleep, I was still obsessed with the thought of HIV. This only became worse and I become more hysterical when I started getting leg cramps in my muscles on a Sunday night. The next morning I woke up feeling a little different so I had some orange juice which I throw up with in minutes. I went to work and by the time I got off at 3pm I was achy and sick feeling, but no fever. I took some medicine and went to bed immediately. I woke up a few hours later with a fever and chills. I took some more medicine and fell back to sleep. When I woke up about four+ hours later the fever was gone and the achy ness and muscle soreness felt a lot better. The next day I still felt sick the next day so I took some more medicine and by the middle of the day I was feeling pretty much my normal self. The cold symptoms lasted for about a day and a half. But around this time I also had sinus issues, which I still have now. I had itchy ears, eyes, nose, and pressure in my whole head, swollen/red eyes, a little blood in my nose, and slight sore throat. I read that sinus issues could be a symptom of HIV. I went to the ENT and he told me he saw no sign of a sinus infection that it was just allergies and gave me some medicine. It has been 7+ weeks and I still feel like crap. I still have muscle/joint pains that last for about 30 seconds or less and then. I also think my throat is still sore, my sinus are still out of whack, and I still have headaches, bloated stomach, and so on. My skin seems to be more sensitive also. I have anxiety and I also have OCD. Im obsessed with the thought of HIV. I read about symptoms all the time. As soon as I wake up I start thinking about it until I go to bed. I cant function. I am scared. I havent been sick in quit a while and to have gotten the flu scared me. Since flu like symptoms are common of HIV infection. I think I have also been more fatigued than normal. Plus, I also have HPV, which I read if you have a STD already your changes are higher to contract HIV. I have one more question for you. I was told that HIV is a hard virus to catch, that its a weak virus. But if its so weak and hard to catch than why is it the number 4 killer in the US and the number 2 killer among Hispanic/African American women in the US? I went and got a test done last Wednesday my results will be back this Wednesday (24th) but I know its not conclusive until after 6 months. But I am so scared and obsessed with my symptoms. I dont know what to do I would love to know your opinion on my symptoms and my potential risk. Also, I would love to donate to your HIV/AIDS organization. Just tell me how. I also woke up a few days ago with a lump on my cheek near my jaw line. It hurt the first day a little but now it doesnt hurt but the lump is still there. What do you think? I think I am a failure at life and I need some advice- PLEASE!!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I believe you very accurately diagnosed your problem when you wrote: "I have anxiety and I also have OCD. I'm obsessed with the thought of HIV. I read about symptoms all the time. As soon as I wake up, I start thinking about it until I go to bed. I can't function. I am scared."

If you couple that statement with the assessment of the physicians who have evaluated your "symptoms" the urgent care physician "didn't see anything wrong with me . . . throat looked normal and glands weren't swollen" and the ENT physician saw "no sign of a sinus infection, just allergies" it would seem to me your "feeling like crap" is primarily psychological, rather than physical. I can't tell from your post if you are a male or female or if the unprotected sex was vaginal or anal. The estimated per-act risk for acquiring HIV from unprotected receptive vaginal or anal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive is 10 per 10,000 exposures and 50 per 10,000 exposures respectively. Consequently, you should be able to surmise form these estimated statistical-risk figures that HIV is indeed a difficult virus to acquire! I would not say that HIV is a weak virus, but I do very much agree it's much more difficult to catch than most folks imagine. Your estimated risk would be even lower than the figures quoted above, as you do not know the status of your partner.

I would anticipate your seven-week ELISA will be negative. That should be encouraging to you; however, you'll need to repeat that test at the three-month mark to obtain a definitive result. I do not believe you are a "failure at life." Rather, I believe you have significant psychological problems anxiety, irrational fears of HIV, OCD, depression, guilt, etc. I strongly urge you to seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist to confront and address these very real medical problems. It's the first step to regaining your good health.

Thank you for your willingness to make a donation to my foundation, The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. Donation information can be found on the foundation's Web site at www.concertedeffort.org. Donations may also be sent directly to our office at:

The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 145 Los Altos, CA 94024

Good luck. Please feel better.

Dr. Bob

Thank you for answering my question :)

May 27, 2006

Thank you for answering my question at- I think I am a failure at life and need help- what do you think? I really really appreciate it. You are an amazing man not to metion you are very handsome. I just wanted to let you know what's happening now. I got my 6 week results back- negative. But I still don't feel any less stressed. I am still scared to get my 3 month test done in July. I still have aches and pains all over my body. Plus, now I developed a UTI, which I have never had one before and I heard that it's common in women with HIV. That scares me beyond belief. By the way I am a girl, you couldn't tell with my questions.

Yes, I need to go see a therapist like you told me and many other doctors have told me for my anxiety and OCD. I am just praying all will be okay. My biggest goal in life was always to have kids and a family and I feel I might have messed that up if I contracted HIV. Plus, I would love to ride an ostridge, move to Italy, and fly a plane- someday. But thank you for you response. I really appreciate it!!! :)

Also, thanks for the link to donate. I did and I will continue to. :)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Have kids and family, move to Italy, fly a plane . . . . Yeah, I can see all those as wonderful plans, but "ride an ostridge" (or even an ostrich), wow, there's an item that doesn't pop up all that often as a life goal. BRAVO for originality. Can I ride too?

Your six-week negative result is very encouraging! Don't stress about your UTI. They are extremely common in women and not related to HIV.

You realize you need to see a therapist. I and "many other doctors" have also advised the same thing. So, what are you waiting for? Get going!!!! Your OCD and anxiety are very real medical problems and are very treatable. They are also what are causing you to feel so terrible at the moment. If you want to ride that ostrich, go see the therapist. It really is just that straightforward. (Why not ride the ostrich to the therapist's office????)

Thanks for your donation! (www.concertedeffort.org)

Dr. Bob



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