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Was Reassured By Response/Now More Frightened Than Ever
Feb 14, 2009

Hello again Dr. Frascino,

I'm the "Almost 20 Years in Hell" lady who wrote to you in January asking you to assess the likelihood that a potential exposure that I had in 1990 could have resulted in infection. Your response was that the chance that I was infected, and still healthy all these years later, was "essentially non-existent" and that my problem was an irrational fear. I was very reassured by this and my anxiety level was greatly reduced. I have continued reading your responses on this site - again, what a tremendous service you are providing and I love your sense of humor- and you can imagine my horror when I read the post "HIV Progression" from Feb. 8th. Here was a situation that sounded very similar to mine, yet the person in question did indeed have a very advanced HIV infection that had gone undetected. Your response indicated that it was indeed possible that the person had been infected for almost 19 years. I guess what I am trying to get at is that, at least to me, your responses to these similar scenarios seems contradictory. I do not mean this in any disrespectful way. I hope you can clarify the situation for me.

I also want to say that I have I been trying to get tested. I tried to do a HomeAccess kit, but I just could not get a sufficient flow of blood to fill up the test space. I decided that this was not going to work, so I made an appointment for testing in the city. On my drive there, I became so overwhelmed by nerves, that I became severely nauseous. I actually threw up on myself in the car and I had to turn around. I am so annoyed with myself and also now more terrified than ever. I am trying to get myself out of this "hell" - please help me.

Thank you again for your kindness, Middle-Aged Crazy(ier)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Middle-aged Crazy(ier),

Please know that everyone's situation is somewhat unique. Applying my comments about a hypothetical scenario to your specific situation is not at all helpful. My assessment of your situation and my recommendations remain exactly the same. (See below.) Even if you again throw up on yourself and barf on the laboratory technician performing the test as well, go and get the test done. The only thing keeping you in "hell" is you! The doorway out is wide open. All you need to do is walk through it.

I'll be waiting for your incredibly belated WOO-HOO, OK?

Dr. Bob

HIV Progression Feb 8, 2009

My wife tested +ve on 9/01/09 while I tested -ve on 15/01/09. Due to serious vaginal thrush for a couple of years, we have used condoms almost all the time. Last time we had unprotected sex was 2.5yrs ago. While trying to handle the diagnosis I also have so many questions. Her CD4 was 37 6% and VL 181 018. She says the last time she slept with someone else was before we met in June 1990. If it possible for her to have been infected then and for me to be still -ve after 16years of unprotected sex and two sons (13 & 7) both -ve? Am I being selfish wanting to know this?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Is it possible? Yes, it is. Your wife's CD4 count of 37 suggests she has been infected for a very long period of time, even 16 years!

Is it possible, despite her chronic and longstanding HIV disease, that you and your two sons are negative? Yes, once again it is possible. Not every HIV exposure leads to HIV transmission (thankfully!). It is also possible for an HIV-infected woman to give birth to HIV-negative children.

Are you being selfish wanting to know when your wife was infected? No, I wouldn't call it selfish; however, it is a bit insensitive. The questions that come to my mind include: Why wasn't her diagnosis picked up sooner? Recurrent "serious vaginal thrush" should have been a tip-off for testing. Also, why wasn't she screened for HIV at the time of her two pregnancies? I find it tragic and somewhat shocking that this diagnosis was missed for so long in someone who has access to medical care.

At this time the most important thing to do is focus on your wife's health. She needs to establish care with an HIV physician specialist without delay if she has not already done so. I would also advise you to read through the chapter in the archives devoted to magnetic couples (one positive, one negative). Your wife might also find much useful information on this site as she adjusts to her new reality.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob



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