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I am confused
Apr 28, 2007

I am very confused! I recently sought the advise of a HIV specialist AAA HIV MD certified one after having 10 months of assorted symptoms correlative to HIV infection despite multiply negative tests for HIV. I wanted to put this fear to bed once and for all. I have asked you Bob many times for advice but realize you are a very busy guy. I love your work and have found you to be a comfort through this ordeal! Anyway, the doctor said to me that if I contracted HIV 10 months ago, untreated my life span would be measure in months 18-22, not years. That 10 months of untreated HIV infection I would have lost significant weight, unchecked thrush and lots of symptoms not the vague, white tongue, muscles aches, itchy skin, herpes break outs about every 45 days, ect. I suffer from now. Is this true? I read here of people who are + and not knowing for years, one post wrote he was + with low viral load counts and high CD4 count for ten + years no meds. I am confused!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I would have to respectfully disagree with the information you received from that doctor. Perhaps you misunderstood what he was saying. If not, I'd suggest you find a new HIV specialist.

Multiple negative HIV tests out to 10 months are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.

The usual natural history of untreated HIV infection is as follows: (1) viral transmission followed 2-3 weeks later by (2) acute retroviral syndrome followed 2-3 weeks later by (3) seroconversion and the recovery from ARS symptoms followed 2-3 weeks later by (4) an asymptomatic chronic phase that can persist for 8-10 years followed by (5) symptomatic HIV infection/AIDS. Death usually occurs 1-2 years later.

Remember this is "untreated." With current treatment, including HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) and prophylaxis and treatment of opportunistic infections, the life expectancy has been greatly extended. Just how far we don't know, because these potent new therapies haven't been around long enough for us to know. I, for one, plan on dying of old age, not HIV.

Returning to your situation, whatever is causing your problems, one thing is certain: it's not HIV, OK? You can discuss my reply with your doctor. If indeed he is a certified HIV specialist, I strongly doubt he'll disagree.

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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