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Firefighter in need of your reply, 3rd try
Mar 31, 2009

Doctor Bob- Please help me with my situation. I am 33 white hetero male who ended a relationship with ex girlfriend in Aug 2007 (lots of unprotected penile/vag sex). Since then I have been having extreme fatigue, post nasal drip, skin problems, lots of recurring jock itch and others in groin area, and some ED problems. From Feb 2008 till present I have tested HIV negative many times. Eg: three orasure rapid oral at Co. Health, 1 blood draw ELISA and four Red Cross donations Neg also (regular donor). However even with NUMEROUS trips to Primary care doc, no answers yet and "symptoms" still persist to this day. Last HIV tests were in Feb 2009 (1.5 years post exposure risk). I do get spinal epidurals for back pain every 3-4 months. #1- Any chance I cannot produce antibodies #2-Could all these tests be false negative this far out? #3- Do I need to worry about rare subtypes (ex g/f was white and from my small town)? #4- Is there ANY chance I have HIV or these symptoms are from HIV?

Thanks so much Doctor. Firefighter needing your reassurance!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Firefighter Guy,

Usually I skip questions about multiple negative tests well beyond the window period because I've responded to gazillions of them over the years (check the archives) and my response is always the same: A negative HIV test taken outside the window period trumps "symptoms" each and every time. However, I've always had a soft spot for firefighters, so here's your personalized response. But you better never let my house burn down. And I want a ride in the fire truck some night as well . . . .

1. No. No chance whatsoever.

2. No. Absolutely not.

3. No. Absolutely not.

4. No. Absolutely not.

OK, here it comes: Your multiple HIV-negative tests out to 1.5 years are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted. A negative HIV test taken outside the window period trumps "symptoms" each and every time. (Sound familiar?)

Unfortunately I cannot diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet; however, what I can do with absolute certainty is advise you what's not causing them: It's not HIV! If your primary care doctor has been unable to help, consider getting a second opinion. If no physical cause can be found for your symptoms, you should be evaluated for possible psychosomatic illness.

Good luck Firefighter Guy. And don't forget my fire truck ride.

Dr. Bob



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