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thousand dollar guy
Feb 19, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob

This is the guy that promised the 1000 dollar donation and I want you to know I have not forgotten about you. I just need to get some money together as I have had some finacical setbacks lately. Also I have some anxiety coming back to me about my HIV test.

I had a 13 week test done and the results came back negative but I am still having symptoms from what I thought was ARS. Fatigue, muscle aches, thrush, excessive gas, and diahreeah are all still present and have been for over 2 months now.

I keep reading a small minority take longer than 3 months to seroconvert and am worried about it.

Does the fact that I am still showing symptoms possibly mean that not enough antibodies have been developed to be detected on a test?

I would think that anitbodies being produced would fight the infection and make symptoms go away, so the fact that I still have symptoms could mean that not enough antibodies have been produced. Does this make sense?

Thanks

And Im not BSing you about the donation either.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I don't recall what your potential HIV exposure was, but a negative 13-week test is extremely encouraging. For most routine potential exposures, I would consider it a definitive result. If you had a significant HIV exposure to someone confirmed to be positive, the guidelines would recommend an additional test at the six-month mark.

"Symptoms" are notoriously unreliable in determining who is and is not HIV infected. A negative test outside the window period trumps symptoms each and every time. "Fatigue, muscle aches, thrush, excessive gas, and diarrhea" that persist for over two months are not really consistent with ARS.

Yes, an extremely small minority of folks can take longer than three months to seroconvert. Should you worry about this? Well, let me put it this way. Are you worried about falling out of bed and killing yourself while sleeping? No? Well, as it turns out, falls out of bed while sleeping kill 600 Americans each year. I can assure you that more than 600 Americans per year do not take longer than three months to seroconvert. So, unless you're more worried about a fatal fall off your Sealy Posturepedic mattress than seroconverting late, your level of worry is out of proportion to any real risk.

Your fears that your protracted symptoms are due to delayed anti-HIV antibody production are unwarranted. The immune response to HIV or any germ for that matter is highly complex and involves many mechanisms, not just antibodies.

Finally, BS-ing or not, please remember donations should be given only in the spirit of generosity, compassion and the desire to help those in need. Donation or not, you have my support and my best good-luck/good-health karma, OK?

Dr. Bob



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