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Re: can't diagnose off symtpoms..but what if...

Aug 25, 2007

Sneaky sneaky Dr. Frascino. You are right. I didn't like your answer!

All but the most paranoid Worried Wells seem to realize that if you have no HIV exposure you don't have HIV.

Our paranoia kicks in when we conjure up theoretically possible but extremely unlikely exposures scenarios (shared a nasal inhaler once to clear sinuses before scuba diving, cut finger on taxi cab, kissed too many boys/girls at college parties, sickly looking bum spat in face, ate food with what looked like blood on it and had canker sore).

So I will rephrase my question: For someone with none of the "official" risk factors for HIV, but a few of these conceivably theoretically possible exposures, what symptoms would you need to see to be worried about potential HIV infection?

A lot of my paranoia started from an odd throat infection, where the gastroenterologist asked me if I had HIV, and told me to get tested, even though I told him I had no risk factors. And, as no surprise to you I'm sure, it turned out negative, but the craziness never went away.

All sarcasm aside, I really appreciate what your doing. Your light demeanor really settles me down. A donation is on its way regardless of whether you answer my question.

Original Post and Answer: can't diagnose off symtpoms..but what if... Aug 9, 2007

I know you always tell us worried well types that symptoms are notoriously unreliable indicators to tell who is or isn't HIV infected.

That is great, but us crazies all think that we will be the one exception to the rule, and that our symptoms are just so clear it must be HIV.

So a hypothetical...

For someone without any of the standard CDC published HIV risk factors, what symptoms would you need to see before you were worried about potential HIV?

Response from Dr. Frascino


That's an easy hypothetical, but I can tell already you won't like my answer. If you've had no potential HIV exposure, then there wouldn't be any symptoms that would lead me to screen for HIV. Conversely, if you've placed yourself at risk for HIV you should be screened whether or not you have any symptoms at all. See, I told you you wouldn't like it.

Dr. Bob

Response from Dr. Frascino


Actually I really wasn't being sneaky, just honest. And despite your rephrasing of your hypothetical question, my response remains unchanged! I don't particularly like hypothetical questions, as they are merely exercises in mental masturbation. And if you are going to masturbate you might as well do the more enjoyable kind. So let's get real and turn to your situation. You told the gastroenterologist you had no risk factors; therefore, HIV testing would not be warranted. And that indeed proved to be the case, as you tested negative. Your problem is paranoia, not HIV. I urge you to seek treatment for that very real condition (paranoia) that you definitely have, rather than to continue chasing after and worrying about a disease (HIV) you definitely do not have simply because a gastroenterologist made an inappropriate recommendation and scared the bejesus out of you!

Dr. Bob

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