|Problems Down Under
Oct 21, 2008
Dear Dr. Bob
I wrote to you about 12 months ago after having had an exposure (unprotected sex with female of unknown status) in 2004. Following that exposure I had a cough that lasted nearly 3 months. I have since had ongoing problems such as dermatitis, peeling/cracked lips, chronic bleeding/receding gums, periodontal disease, folliculitis on arms/legs, and I also appear to bruise easily. I have completely convinced myself that this is all due to HIV.
I had a total of 6 antibody tests (Abbott Asym and Abbott HIV 1/2 Combo) over a period of 2 years - these tests are approved for use in Australia but not in USA, plus I had a DNA PCR for HIV1 - all test results were negative/undetectable. CD4 count was over 700. The lady in question also provided me with a negative test result but I place little credence on this as she has been difficult to say the least.
My question is whether I can rely on my own results. This is because I understand that some people fail to make antibodies and/or the Elisa test results may not always be accurate and I have also read that HIV2 cannot be picked up by PCR. If it is not HIV what could be causing these strange symptoms? I was consistently healthy prior to the above incident and have had no subsequent exposures.Do I need more testing?
Finding it increasingly difficult to get through the day so any advice you can give me would be much appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.
| Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello Problems Down Under,
You're still worried about a potential exposure in 2004 despite:
1. six negative HIV-1/HIV-2 tests out to two years;
2. an undetectable DNA PCR;
3. a normal CD4 count;
4. a negative test from the "Sheila" with whom you rooted like a wombat.
Hmm . . . mate, I don't think you have "problems down under," but rather problems up top. In other words, I think there may well be a few "roos loose in the top paddock," so to speak.
Do you need more HIV testing? No, of course not. You need a good shrink to help you accept the truly wonderful news that you are absolutely, conclusively and irrefutably HIV negative. Whatever is causing your symptoms, one thing is absolutely certain: it's not HIV!
Mate, it's time you put those irrational fears permanently to rest.
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