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Still need testing, worried and depressed (FALSE POSTIVE HIV PCR)

Aug 3, 2007

Hi Dr Bob, I tested positive with PCR with viral load being 400 count/ml(400 being the lower limit of the assay). I wrote to you about my exposure last Dec '06, that condom broke while briefly rubbing against vagina of a sex worker. And you suggested to me that most likely it is false positive. Thank you very much for rekindling my spirits back and also I donated to your charity. Well I got tested again with PCR(now 50 count/ml being the lower count of test) after 30/90 days and both came back no virus detected. Also I got the antibody test done at 90 day mark and it came back negative. Also few days back I got the oral swab test done and it too came back negative. Should I need further testing or should I lay my first test to complete rest as a false positive. Please let me know.

Surprisingly I have been falling sick often last few months with fevers and muscle weakness and twitches. Not sure if it is HIV doing all tricks on my body or is it some other virus that is wrecking me. Could this be HIV related? - Thanks Bob

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your initial positive PCR was definitely a false-positive. No further HIV testing is warranted. HIV is not your problem. No way, no how. Whatever is causing your symptoms, one thing is certain; it's not HIV!

If you're feeling depressed, you should seek treatment for depression!

Dr. Bob

Extreme Fatigue, cannot tolerate cold weather Dec 2, 2006

I was feeling extremely weak recently and also had a bout of fever with chills. Few weeks(3 weeks) back I had encounter with a sex worker and the condom broke outside. I think my penis came in contact with the outside vaginal fluids(the condom broke). So I asked my physician to perform a HIV PCR test. The result came positive with 400 count per ml. I am really worried, the doctor says it could be a false positive. Is 400 count per ml a definitive count for me to be HIV positive? Please let me know, I am really really worried. - Thanks Roby.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Roby,

You are yet another example of why I do not recommend PCR testing for routine HIV screening! As you can see, the result did not calm your nerves or give you a definitive result. If anything, all it did was increase your anxiety levels.

I would tend to agree with your doctor that your result of 400 is most likely a false-positive test. I suggest you wait until the three-month mark and then take a definitive HIV-antibody test. If it is negative, as I strongly suspect it will indeed be, then you can rest assured your three-week PCR was indeed a false-positive test.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

unprotected vaginal sex
HPV warts and testing

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