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I've finally gathered up the courage to get tested AGAIN
Feb 5, 2008

Hi Dr. Bob,

I don't know if you remember me but i'm the nursing student who tested positive to an ELISA but never found out the result of the confirmatory test. Well after about 4 months I've gathered the courage to go get tested again and this time I am going to find out for sure whether I'm positive or negative. I wasn't ready to accept my fate but after reading your post about the doctor who wasted 22 years of his life thinking he was positive made me realize that I can't keep living life not knowing what ifs. I've cried so many nights because I'm not a US citizen or permanent resident. I really wanted to stay in the US and work here and hopefully gain citizenship but I know that with the present HIV ban I won't be able to stay here. That was one of my fears that kept me from going to get tested again. Going back home in Latin America is basically a death sentence because in my country there is no government plan to help the hiv positive ppl and I don't know how i'm going to get access to ARV drugs. Thats why I'm so scared because if I were American at least I could buy health insurance and pay for the lifesaving drugs while staying here in the US. My thoughts have been: I've worked so hard all my life to come to school here in America and pursue the American Dream and now I face the possibility of all my dreams being destroyed because of one stupid little virus. I would essentially be going home to live my last 10 years and die. Very sad future to think about. I've neglected my partner (we haven't had sex in about 3 months now), I'm not doing well in school, and I think I'm depressed. I'm going this Friday to get an Oraquick test. My question: is there a difference in accuracy between an oraquick elisa or one that uses a blood sample. The one I tested positive on used a blood sample. But on that day the lab person took an oral sample to be used in the confirmatory test (the one i never found the results of). If, GOD WILLING, I test negative on friday using the oraquick test should I WOOHOO or should I tell the person to go ahead and do a second elisa with a western blot? If that is the case is a blood sample better than an oral one? PLEASE REPLY ASAP! Thanks. I hope its not too much to ask for you to send me some good karma my way...i'm in desperate need of it.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I absolutely agree with your decision to get tested and then deal with the consequences of the results whatever they may be. The alternative of not knowing, getting depressed, ruining your relationship and doing poorly in school is really not much of an alternative!

Your next step should be to get a screening HIV rapid test (or ELISA). If the results are negative all you need to do is yell WOOO-HOOOO! No further testing would be necessary because a negative screening test 3 months or more after the last possible exposure is considered to be definitive and conclusive. If your result on the screening test is positive, this would be considered only preliminary and a confirmatory test (Western Blot or equivalent) would be needed before the test is deemed a positive HIV test.

My good luck karma has been signed sealed and sent!!!!

Good luck! Whatever the result you are indeed doing the right thing and I am proud of you.

Dr. Bob



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