Terrified I have ARS
Jul 22, 2007
Hello, I appreciate your knowledge and opinion very much in advance. I've read through man, many forums here and see conflicting information regarding DNA PCR tests. I am dealing with an insane amount of anxiety associated with a black-out night of binge drinking...I think I'm having flashbacks of sex with a stranger. F/M Since then I have suffered from a loss of weight, joint and muscle pain, swollen glands, fatigue,a bit of nausea/darrhea, minor rash. The symptoms scream that this is ARS, however, I have had (1) negative DNA PCR at 26 days post exposure and another negative DNA PCR, and antibody test at 48 days post exposure. The dr's say they don't think it's HIV, but to retest at 3 month marker which is still 3 weeks away. My questions are: 1) What do you think about this possibly being ARS given my symptoms and tests? 2) What degree of peace of mind can I take from the negative tests at 26 and 48 days post exposure? Thanks, very worried
Response from Dr. Frascino
I doubt you've read any conflicting information about HIV testing in my forums, as my advice has remained consistent. I do not recommend PCR testing for routine HIV testing, due to the rate of false-positives, other technical considerations and cost. DNA PCR testing can be helpful in certain situations, such as disputed or indeterminate serologic results. I agree with your doctor: if you want to know if you've contracted HIV, get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark.
To answer your specific questions:
1. Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in determining who is and is not HIV infected. Next, DNA PCR tests are not FDA approved for routine HIV screening. Certainly negative tests are encouraging, but if you want a definitive answer, I'd still suggest a single rapid HIV test at the three-month mark.
2. Encouraging, but not definitive.
The best advice I can give you is that you need to get help for your binge drinking problem.
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