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13 years ago
Feb 21, 2009

Doctor, I have written before (10 years later guy) and you were kind enough to respond. Your second response suggested that I obtain psychological assistance in light of my ongoing fears. I would gladly do so if it were not for the fact that three other people in my life, who might have been exposed through my sexual behaviour and who don't have any anxieties that they might have HIV, are also experiencing many of the same symptoms (hairy tongue, night sweats, diseminated flat warts). I won't bother you with the shopping lists of symptoms that my girlfriend and I are experiencing but suffice it to say that we are both displaying many of the symptoms often seen in later stages of HIV infection.

So, my question is whether it is possible that I have picked up some genetic variant that is not detected in the quick tests and ELISA test? Are there other viruses that give rise to exactly the same symptoms as HIV?

I can't shake the fear that these other people are experiencing an infection that I was the source of. My anxiety can not explain the fact that they have similar symptoms. I am getting so incredibly depressed. I thought that I had finally gotten past this but I keep experiencing new health changes (lately having incredible urination frequency at night, developing anal sores, still losing weight, two days ago noticed white spots along vertical ridges on right side of tongue, have flat warts growing everywhere, including orally - trying Aldara on skin but no response). I have asked my doctor to get my CD4 levels checked so I can determine the status of my immune system. I asked to see an infectious diseases specialist. My doctor made an appointment for me with an allergist. I don't know what allergists do, exactly, and can only hope that the allergist is somewhat informed about HIV symptoms.

Please be understanding of my anxiety. As I said, I desperately want to get over this.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

If my second response to your ongoing fears was for you to obtain psychological assistance, my third response is going to be remarkably similar! (Obviously you haven't taken my advice to seek psychological counseling and it appears that your fears and anxiety remain unchanged or perhaps have even worsened!)

I'll try to be as direct as possible. Your basic question is whether you have picked up some genetic variant of HIV that is not detected in rapid tests and ELISA tests. The answer is a resounding no! As I have told you before, symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. A negative HIV-antibody test outside the window period trumps symptoms each and every time.

You do not need additional HIV tests or a CD4 count! Nor do you need an infectious diseases doctor or allergist. You need psychological/psychiatric help to confront and conquer your irrational HIV fears.

You write: "Please be understanding of my anxiety." I assure you that is exactly what I am attempting to do: be understanding of your anxiety. You need an "anxiety" specialist, not more HIV tests! If indeed you "desperately want to get over this," I urge you to follow my advice and seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you accept the truly wonderful news that you are HIV negative.

Dr. Bob



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