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Archives close but no cigar! EVERY SYMPTOM IMAGINABLE
Mar 17, 2008

Please answer me this time Dr Bob. I've continually checked the archives and though some answers come close to reassuring me, nothing quite hits the spot.

A brief run down of my situation is penetrative sex with a CSW 28 weeks ago. Condom was used as the beginning but due to being ridiculously drunk I cant remember if it was intact by the end. Since the incident I've suffered every symptom imagineable; recurring sinus infections, extreme leg pain, irritating cough, underarm pain, pretty bad fatigue, cold feet, night sweats...the list goes on. These symptoms started about 10 weeks post exposure and continue to this day. So far I've had negative ELISA tests at 14 weeks, 21 weeks and 27 weeks. Before each test I have promised this will be the last and I will accept the result, but within a couple of days of receiving it, the old worries creep back. I guess you are going to say that my problems are in my head, but the real pain I am feeling cant be imagined. No way, no how!!

In your opinion are my tests out to 27 weeks conclusive. I really want to find the root cause of my problems and if I can finally dismiss hiv, I might be able to do that. Would a PCR test be warranted in this situation? Please help me in this matter Dr Bob. A sizeable donation is winging its way soon.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Actually a more careful reading of the archives would reveal many "cigars!" A drunken horizontal mattress mambo with a shady lady of Naughty Lane followed by guilt/anxiety and the development of "every symptom imaginable," leading to an excessive number of HIV tests, all of which are normal, followed by persistent guilt/anxiety and irrational fears that you have HIV, despite incontrovertible and overwhelming evidence that is not the case is an incredibly common scenario. I answer at least half dozen (often more) of these scenarios every week. Many of these questioners have a desperate tone, threaten suicide if they don't hear back from me immediately or promise "a sizeable donation is winging its way to my foundation soon." This extremely similar scenario has now become yet another QTND (question that never dies). And like all other QTNDs, it has an ATNC (answer that never changes). So once again here it is brought to you by your friends at the "Department of Redundancy Department."

1. Symptoms, no matter what they are, are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. By the way, I've found that having "every symptom imaginable" is a contrary indicatory: It generally means you do not have HIV!

2. A negative FDA-approved HIV antibody test taken outside the window period trumps "symptoms" each and every time.

Consequently, yes indeed I am going to say your problems are not HIV related. And if no physical cause can be determined for your "every symptom imaginable," then indeed these symptoms may well be "imagined!" Psychosomatic illness does produce very real symptoms. If you want to find the "root cause" of your problems, more HIV testing, especially PCR testing, is not the means to do so. Instead I would recommend a thorough medical exam (if you haven't already had one) and, if this is unrevealing, an evaluation for psychosomatic illness. This approach has worked extremely well for all the folks who have presented with similar issues and who ultimately followed my advice. Dr. Bob says give it a try!

Good luck. Remember, HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.

Dr. Bob



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