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Believe Dr Bob!!! (This will encourage someone)

Feb 19, 2009

Dr Bob,

First things first I want to say a big thank you for playing a part in keeping me sane these past 6 months. Seriously I would have lost it. Your sense of humour kept me thinking that it wouldnt be the end of the world no matter the case.So this is the story -about 6 months ago I had unprotected insertive vaginal intercourse with a girl who I had met at a batchelor's eve party just a week before. Ok so people say vaginal sexual intercourse isn't such a high-risk,but I live in Nigeria, where there is practically an HIV epidemic, over 4 million pple are living with HIV/AIDS. I really should have known better, but alchohol messes with your head. A few weeks after I started having "classic" ARS symptoms: Tongue and throat ulcers, drenching night sweats, rash, pharyngitis, stiff neck, penile ulcers, painful swollen lymph nodes, high fever (over 103 degrees F), myalgia, folliculitis, headaches, thrush - hell I had a weekly journal documenting my symptoms, it was such an awful time. I tested negative with a rapid test at 8 and 14 weeks, but I still wasn't convinced, the symptoms where so severe and persistent that in my Engineers mind all I could think of was cause and effect - Unprotected sex, plus very specific, previously unexperienced symptoms equals primary HIV infection. To make matters worse the girl acted really shady, told me she got tested every three months and was negative(who does that? O she has to monitor her HIV infection), her doctor was her best friend (cos she's grateful to him for controlling her HIV infection), She knew someone who had been infected for 10 years and was fine (who do you know better than yourself) I mean I was convinced, there was no other rational explaination for how I was feeling. I stumbled on this website during my frequent self-diagnosing internet searches, and quickly abandoned all others. I read practically all the questions and answers in the forum. Dr Bob replied my post after I tested negative at 14 weeks, telling me HIV was not my problem, no way no how. In my fever raged state I didnt believe him, and anyway for me to still be having symptoms out to 4 months It meant I had skipped the asymptomatic stage and had become symptomatic, I probably had a CD4 count of 121 (right!). If I had listened to him, I could have saved myself a lot of stress and money subsequently. I did a VRDL test and a host of other blood tests, they all came out normal. This only strengthened my conviction that the only explanation was HIV. In Nigeria they still have a 6 month window period, and a certified HIV counsellor told me he knew someone who seroconverted after 9 months. Anyways to cut my rambling short, I finally found a clinic that did PCR DNA testing. It was freaking expensive (300 dollars in a country where most pple earn like 50 dollars a month). I got the results today, and I have memorised the words on the slip - "This Negative qualitative PCR DNA result excludes the prescence of intra-cellular HIV DNA in this Specimen". Negative!!! That's that! The big Kahuna of HIV tests confirmed it, but I should have listened to the big Kahuna of HIV knowledge, Dr Bob, instead. So lessons learned? 1. Use a rubber, your name's not Dubya (corny and non-rhyming I know, but I couldn't resist it) 2. If you do not have a medical degree (and even if you do), do not try to self - diagnose. You will frustrate yourself and find out that your mind is capable of producing the most severe "ARS" symptoms (think the nocebo effect) 3. Spread the word about HIV, you'd be suprised at how ignorant the people around you are! 4. Please Listen to Dr Bob, It might save you money that could have been devoted to worthy causes like 5. Yell woooo-hooo. Yup, nice right? Yell it again for emphasis. Its good for you.

The Nigerian ex-filer.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Nigerian Ex-Filer,

Thanks for your kind comments and for taking the time to write in and share your story and newfound insights!


Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Is this a bad omen?
The End (one year later)

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