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False negative statistics - wrong????
Nov 15, 2007

Hi Dr Bob, here's something that is bugging me personally and I can't get it out of my head. You and alot of other HIV experts say that "it's very rare to get a false negative outside the window period, and it only occurs rarely in late stage AIDS, and when taking high dose immunosuppressants". Alot of the time I see you tell people that HIV is not their problem and they have pyschosomatic symptoms. But how can you be so sure? If something really is causing a false neagtive in an individual, and that person is simply dismissed as being a "worried well", they will probably never go and get tested again and hence nobody will ever discover they really DO have HIV. After all, after a neg test, no confirmatory tests are performed, so how do you know it's not a false negative?

Thanks, this is really worrying me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Please note: HIV/AIDS is not a new disease. We've been intensively studying and tracking it for over a quarter of a century. HIV-antibody tests have been available and in widespread use since the mid-80s! Appropriate long-term follow-up studies have been conducted to validate the test and our recommendations. If we were wrong those "worried wells" wouldn't still be well decades later!

Your fears are unwarranted. I would imagine you too are both worried and well, qualifying you as yet another "worried well"!

Dr. Bob



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