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My mom is in final AIDS stage
Dec 11, 2006

Hi:

My 73 yr old mother is in her final stages of AIDS. Her doctors told me she has weeks maybe a couple of months to live. My mom has been assigned to hospice care and she wants to live with me until she goes to heaven. I told her yes she's welcome to live with me.

I have been taken care of my mom for the past 3 yrs & recently in the past 2 days took a Oral Rapid Quick blood HIV test which came back negative.. My mom has been in a nursing home until she became weaker and now she's leaving the hospital to come live with me. During her stay at a nursing home I did all of her laundry for her... her clothes were soaked in her urine due to incognance...she wore adult diapers but there were leaks. My question is many timeS I touched her laundry sometimes with gloves sometimes not..

One day I remember picking up her sweater to smell if it was clean because it felt dry and some of the particles from her fuzzy sweater went down my nose and throat and due to me checking to see if it smelled of urine..that was maybe 2 months to 1 month ago. Now within the past 2 weeks I'm having chills, sweats night and day, fatigue and tingling in my hands and feet from time to time & had a small rash on my neck and on my upper thigh..

My HIV test which was negative it was done 3 days ago & I recently saw a doctor who told me me my blood chemistry levels were fine, blood levels fine & no bacteria was found in my blood. The doctor said it was more than likely fatigue and a virus. There is no one else that can take my mom in but me and I'm honored to take care of her...she does not want to die in a nursing home and I want to make her happy and will do my best to take care of her.

My question is from my symptoms mentioned above do you feel I should take another HIV test in 3 months or should I have the Western blot test done to be double sure I was not exposed to anything?

My main concern is to make my mom happy but I'm a mother also and want to make sure I'm healthy for my kids as well as my mom.

Thanks....

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your question should have been posted to the HIV Prevention/Safer Sex Forum, not Fatigue and Anemia. Consequently, I'll only answer briefly and post the response in both forums.

Your HIV risk form caring for your mother is nearly nonexistent. For instance, regarding the incontinence problem, HIV is not transmitted by urine. The inhalation of "fuzzies" from your mom's sweater is not a risk for HIV acquisition.

The hospice team should be well trained in providing you with all the necessary information and any safety precautions you may need at home. You can also peruse the wealth of information in the archives of the HIV Prevention Forum (and related links). Your HIV test is negative and there is no reason for additional testing. Your symptoms are not suggestive of or worrisome for HIV. A Western Blot test will not make you "double sure" of anything and should never be run as a screening test! (It's useful only as a confirmatory test following a repeatedly reactive ELISA.)

There is no doubt you have considerable anxiety and many fears about caring for your mom at home. I strongly urge you to make a detailed list of any and all questions and review this with your mom's HIV specialist. He should be able to greatly relieve your unwarranted worries.

Please give your mom a hug and a kiss from me.

Dr. Bob



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