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Denied testing beyond 3 months?
Jul 9, 2008

Hi Dr Bob, Let me start by saying thank you for a great job and how impressive your work seems, especially that you seem to keep a sense of humor in what must sometimes be a dark reality dealing with this devil-invented virus. A well deserved and probably always needed donation will come. Trying to keep a long story short please bare with me; Approximately 5 months ago I did the mistake of my life, got very drunk and ended up in bed with a prostitute in London, UK. The very short act itself ended with a condom break (and a quick sobering reality check that this was not the place I ever imagined myself to be). 2 weeks after incident I felt irritation/itching in the urithrea and an increased need to urinate which passed after about a week. 3,5 weeks after the incident I came down with high fever & chills, night sweats, sore neck, dry cough and diarrhea (fever and cough lingered on almost 3 weeks and was the longest I ever had). 6,5 weeks I got my self tested at a public sexual health clinic in Scandinavia, where I live, for all STDs and HIV (Elisa 4th gen a-gen&a-body) . All results came back negative , and with the word that this was encouraging but not conclusive come back for a conclusive test at 3 months after the exposure. The week after this I felt nausea, tender pain under the right ribcage but slowly starting to feel better. 10 weeks after the incident I developed a very sore throat (pain with swallowing)with a white spot in the back of my throat, I also developed small spots on my skin on hands and arms, like small dark pimples (4-5 of them on different locations). In the 12th week I developed a very red eye, with small very thin red vessels all around my whites. 13,5 weeks - with great anxiety I took the HIV test again (+syphilis test) with what felt like a complete check list of dooming symptoms. Again the 4th gen ELISA (Abbot agen /abody) showed negative, as did the syphilis. I was told that this was conclusive and my symptoms could be of an ordinary flu + emotional stress. Confused but relieved I stumbled out of the clinic to a green and merry world with a reborn feeling. However, the week after this I started to feel slight muscle aches&itching,slight tender lymph nodes in my neck and in my groin, some sweats both day & night, also noted a scarlike red streak from my scrotum out to my thigh and the red eyes came back, slightly milder though and no fever and generally feeling better. After 5 more weeks (5,5 months after the exposure) with the eye still not calming down (also with what looks like a nerve jumping under it), I went to a general doctor, told my story and he looked at my eyes (hmm, could be dry eyes..) and did a full blood count. Noted slight and general leucopenia (11) but nothing he was really worried about. Thinking and agonizing about the slight possibility of late seroconversion, I went to the public clinic again and wanted to do a final HIV test, but was turned down. Whatever this is we cant help you we only test STDs and youve tested them all. 3 months is very well conclusive for the HIV test we use. So, here I am , with a red eye that wont go away (booked a specialist to look at it) and seriously wondering if I should demand another HIV test or just find a qualified shrink. Up until before this, Ive been as healthy as a horse all my life, 35 years, and havent had any tendencies for Hypocondria. What do you think, any idea whats going on? Any advise ? //E

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello E,

I would agree with the advice you received at the public clinic. Your negative HIV and STD screens out to 13.5 weeks are definitive and conclusive. I cannot diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet, but what I can do with great certainty is advise what's not causing them: It's not HIV! No way. No how! I agree with your plan to see an eye specialist if your "red eye" symptoms are persistent.

Even though you have never had and "tendencies for hypochondria," it's clear that this entire episode was frightening and very stressful for you. If you have difficulty accepting the truly wonderful news that you are definitively and conclusively HIV negative, counseling might indeed be helpful.

Thanks for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It will be used to help those in desperate need who were not so lucky in dodging the HIV bullet.

Be well. Stay well. Stop worrying and start WOO-HOOing!

Dr. Bob



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