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Does looking at red/white cells = knowing about HIV?
Sep 3, 2006

Hello Doctor. I just wanted to say that I have been reading all your forums all night and I think you are amazing for helping calm all these people's worries! I myself have an extreme worry and I am about to give myself a heart attack with worry. I was hoping you could help.

I have had unprotected sex in the past with two men. That was four and 1/2 years ago. I am also on Paxol for anxiety (since I was 17 way before I ever had sex) and my doctor runs my blood every 4-6 months to make sure my red/white blood cells are ok (and liver and other things I suppose). I Have now had the same boyfreind (I am a female) for the past 4 years, I dont do drugs or anything else that would be risky for HIV infection, and I was just wondering if my doctor would see HIV anutibodies in my blood by now, or if my BF or I would have some syptoms or if my doctor would notice a significant change in my blood over the past four years and perhaps reccomend an HIV test. Wouldn't they notice something by now? Just curious and worried like hell (because I have anxiety I am trying my best to work my way up to an HIV test but I am trying to calm myself by thinking my odds are lower). Please help me before I die of a heart attack!

Thank You so much. Please keep up the humor and I donate to Red Cross every year but I will donate to you as well now as your forum has already alleviated some worry.

-Big City USA-

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Big City USA,

Your HIV risk is "unprotected sex with two men" four and a half years ago. Statistically the estimated per-act risk for acquiring HIV from unprotected receptive penile-vaginal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive is 1 per 1,000 exposures. Your estimated risk would be even less because we don't know the HIV status of your two previous paramours. A simple rapid HIV test will give you a definitive answer in just 20 minutes. The odds are all in your favor.

Would your doctor see "HIV anutibodies" in your blood now??? What the hell is an anutibody??? If you're wondering about anti-HIV antibodies, these can be screened for only by doing a very specific HIV test. Routine lab work looking at red/white blood cells, etc. would not tell one way or the other if you had detectable anti-HIV antibodies.

Would you or your boyfriend have some "syptoms" (or even symptoms)? No, not necessarily.

Would your doctor notice a significant change in your routine blood tests? Nope.

Stop stressing (and being overly dramatic about potential heart attacks) and just go do what you know needs to be done. Get your rapid HIV test. Most likely it will be negative. Yell WOO-HOO and then write back and tell me the good news, OK?

Thanks for your offer to make a donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). In return I'll send you my best good-luck karma that your HIV test is negative, as I very strongly suspect it will be, OK?

Dr. Bob



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