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desperately wanting you expert advice!
Nov 8, 2006

Dear doctor. I am truly worried I have HIV. I had sex with a woman in May and since then my body has changed so much and I have had so many possible HIV symptoms. Since May the symptoms I had had are the following: 1 week after incident molluscum and genital warts appeared in genital area. I got them removed and none have recurred since.(apart from one molluscum last month!) 2 weeks after incident I had fever, huge night sweat, sore throat, swollen neck glands, loss ten pounds in space of one week and fatigue also which lasted about 10 days. About 3 weeks after incident I developed folliculitus on upper arms, genital and groin area as well as on chest and back and even on scalp a little. Doctor gave me medication but it keeps recurring! I still have it now! 2 months after the incident I had a swollen groin for no reason which wasnt really painful and was twice the size of the other one My hair hasnt grown since July and its getting thinner by the day and at this rate I will be bald by Christmas. Its growing everywhere else on the body but just no longer on my head. 2 months after the incident brown skin stains appeared under both armpits. These eventually disappeared and changed to red patches with spots under one armpit. I no longer have the rashes now. I got an anal ulcer 2 months after the incident also. Took medication for that and none have returned.

I have been tested at 3 months and 5 months for HIV with the Elisa with western blot confirmation and both came back negative! Is it possible I still have HIV bearing in mind all the symptoms I have had and some I am still getting? Should I go for another test at 6 months or is 5-month test good enough? Also, could an autoimmune disease be the reason I am losing my hair? and if so, could that have had an effect on the two anti body tests I have had so far? This is my third time writing doc and I beg u to reply. I am a Scotsman living in USA just now and left a donation a few days ago. I just need your expert opinion on my situation. Hope to hear back from you soon. Thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Scotsman Living in the USA,

While it is true unprotected sex does place one at risk for STDs, including HIV, it is important to realize the actual risk of contracting HIV from a single episode remains extremely low. Other STDs, such as genital warts, for example, are much easier to contract!

The next important thing to realize is that a negative HIV test outside of the window period trumps "HIV symptoms" each and every time! Your two negative HIV tests out to five months are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how! I can't diagnose the cause of your various symptoms over the Internet; however, I can, with great certainty, tell you what's not causing them! It's not HIV!

Do you have to worry about autoimmune diseases affecting your HIV test results? No. From what you've told me, I see absolutely no cause for concern that you might have an autoimmune problem.

Do you need more HIV tests? No. Your results are definitive and conclusive. You are HIV negative. The option to retest always remains open to you. However, additional testing is not necessary and I'm willing to bet if you do retest the results will again be negative.

You diagnosed your real problem accurately when you wrote "I am truly worried I have HIV." Your problem is anxiety related to irrational and unwarranted fear of being HIV infected. I strongly encourage you see counseling to help you confront these fears and accept the wonderful news that you are indeed HIV negative. For your hair-loss problem, see a dermatologist. He would be helpful with your other problems as well molluscum, recurrent folliculitis, "brown skin stains," etc.

Thank you for your donation! Remember, HIV is not your problem, OK?

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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