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chapter 2---scared. worried. anxious guy
May 16, 2007

Aloha Dr. Bob,

Thanks for responding to my email, I was/am the nave guy that had convinced myself I am HIV+ after my son's bout with pneumonia and my bout with extreme anxiety. I took the Home Access test and much to my surprise (but not yours!) it came back as negative. I swore I wouldn't be one of those doubters upon receiving a negative result, but alas, that is exactly what I have become. I have read all of the published research available regarding the reliability of the Home Access test. In essence, the only potential for a false negative would be due to human error as I see it. As such, I have now convinced myself that I probably did something wrong in collecting my blood sample or that "Chuck" in the lab maybe screwed up entering my result. I know that I passed the limits of reasonableness and sanity awhile ago, but unfortuantely I am unable to accept my test result. I really wish I could give you a resounding Woo-Hoo, but I cannot. The chief reason I think this is because I am having a hard time with my weight, and I am not just talking about "Oh I have lost a few pounds". I had lost about 7 pounds during my high-anxiety period as I symptom surfed and waited for my test result. While I have admittedly gained some of the weight back, I have done so by eating constantly. The weird part is that the distribution of my weight has changed drastically. My gut is completely gone and my pectoral muscles have more or less disappeared. I feel like my appetite is out of control, I wake up hungry....I can't skip lunch, etc etc. While I feel like I have been eating a lot, I have no idea where it's going. My gut isn't there, it's not gyoing to my ass either. I am constantly weighing myself, and while I fluctuate greatly during the day (I drink tons of water), I don't think I am losing any more....but I am not gaining either.

So here goes....my thinking is that my result was a screw up or was the result of an error in either my blood sample or something, and in fact I am HIV positive and am experiencing problems with my metabolism. I feel like I am eating constantly yet my body fat appears to have decreased, so my metabolism must be going nuts. I doubt it's a thyroid issue or something like that, but rather it's HIV. Also, after my negative test I went to see my doctor and had a TB test, which was negative.

My earlier symptoms--upset stomach, night swetas, and weight loss--I could easily see how they were the result of anxiety and fear of being HIV positive. But now, despite an incresed appetite, I don't see why I am not putting on weight and my body's distribution has changed so much.

woo-hoo-less,

scared guy

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello (again) Scared Guy,

No, your metabolism is not "going nuts," but you certainly are. I couldn't agree more with your own assessment: "I know that I passed the limits of reasonableness and sanity awhile ago, but unfortunately I am unable to accept my test result."

It's time for you to step off the scale, stop "constantly weighing" yourself and make an appointment to see a psychiatrist. Yep, Scared Guy, this really is all in your head. You now have irrefutable evidence that you are HIV negative. If you are worried "Chuck" screwed up your test, go to your physician's office or a testing center and get a rapid test. You can watch the entire procedure and the results are available in 20 minutes. I can already assure you the result will be negative. I do think you will need some professional help to accept the truly wonderful news that you are HIV negative.

Stop chasing an illness you could not possibly have and instead get the help you definitely need.

Good luck and WOO-HOO! (I'll say it for you!)

Dr. Bob



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