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You Are So Awesome!! (NEGATIVE TEST AT 11 WEEKS)
Feb 26, 2008

Dr Bob, You are amazing! I feel like I know you. The way you break things down is so cool. I will definately be donating! Tell me what you think. I had an unprotected experience with a recycled boyfriend that lasted for SERIOUSLY 20 seconds before I made him TAKE IT OUT!! 2 wks later was the start of every symptom in the book. I wont bore you with the details. My doc told me to get tested at 3 mos. So I did the rapid at 5 wks, 8wks, and just over 11wks. All of which were neg. The thought of taking another test freaks me out to the point that I cant even begin to tell you! I have seen a shrink and I am even on medication for anxiety bcus of this whole thing. My question is this, my last rapid oral was done at jus over 11 wks. I have just about every symptom. Should I test again? My doc says no but I wont feel better until I hear from you. Wether I hear from you or not I still think you are the bomb and I will donate! Love ya mean it!!!! U R MY HERO

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Recycled boyfriends are always trouble. (That's why you dumped him in the first place, right?!)

Unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. I absolutely agree with your doctor's advice. HIV tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive or conclusive. So he told you to get tested at three months. Instead you got tested at 5 weeks, 8 weeks and 11 weeks. Hmm . . . exactly which part of "get tested at 3 months" didn't you understand?

Sure I know the window period can be anxiety provoking. (That's why we say use condoms: So you won't have to endure this type of very avoidable worry!) I'm glad you are getting psychological support and taking anti-anxiety medication to help.

Regarding symptoms even "every symptom in the book" they are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. A negative FDA-approved HIV-antibody test taken outside the window period trumps symptoms each and every time.

So what about your three negative tests out to 11 weeks? Well, 11 weeks is not three months; however, the immune system is not a calendar or a stopwatch either. I can't change the published guidelines that state HIV tests taken prior to three months are not considered to be definitive. If I made an exception for you, I would have to make the same exception for everyone else. Then the standard would be 11 weeks rather than a full three months. If that were the case, I can assure you another anxious wreck would write in within moments asking me if his or her 10.5-weeks negative result merited a WOO-HOO. Obviously you can see where this is going. So, the three-month guideline remains intact! (At least for now.) That said, I can tell you that your negative tests at 5, 8 and "just over 11" weeks are extremely encouraging and so close to the guideline recommendation of three months that I would assume you are HIV negative. If you want to make it official, get a rapid HIV test at three months (or more). The results are available in as few as 20 minutes. It will undoubtedly be negative and should put any residual fears and worries you may be harboring permanently to rest, OK?

Finally, me "the bomb?" Nah, I'm more like a peace symbol.

Dr. Bob



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