Lombard Street Lover - Update
May 7, 2009
Hi Dr. Bob,
Just thought I'd write in to let you know the results of my test and to possibly offer some helpful advice to other readers - seeing as you were kind enough to answer my previous post.
After a 19 week wait since the last occasion when I practised a potentially, albeit minimally, risky sexual act I went to get tested last week and Woo Hoo! my results came back negative! I am obviously relieved at this.
Thanking you in advance for your patience I'd like to ask a couple of questions/raise a few points:
1) My story is living proof that using a condom for each and every high-risk sex act (anal, vaginal etc.) essentially prevents you from getting HIV (as long as you use them properly). It also demonstrates that if you have unprotected insertive oral then you won't necessarily contract HIV. Both of these points are regularly and frequently outlined by Dr. Bob and (as we all know) he is an informed voice of reason.
2) Dr. the test that was performed on me was the Determine HIV 1/2 test (http://www.determinetest.com/determine_hiv_1-2/features__benefits.aspx). I found the test to be very physically and emotionally painless (involves taking only a drop of blood from the finger)and liked it becuase of the quick turnaround time (15 minutes). To be honest I was amazed to find that such a thing existed and was going to the test centre fully prepared to roll up my slevve and give a capsult of blood from the arm and then wait 10-14 days for the results! My question Dr. Bob is how reliable is a negative result on this test after 19 weeks? I looked everywhere to find the approvals for the Determine test but the only information I could find was in this paper on the 2nd page which stated it is approved for international use but not use in the USA(http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/reprint/46/10/3482.pdf). What are is the potential for false negatives? Or should I be assured of the result?
3) For any one reading in the U.K, a good addition to the existing network of Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics provided by our National Health Service (NHS) is the network of drop in, fast-test clinics provided by the British HIV/STD charity the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) ( http://www.tht.org.uk/howwecanhelpyou/hivandstitesting/fastest/). If one can find a clinic close enough to them, it is possible to have access to the fast-testing and confidential services they provide (I believe they are provided free-of-charge). My experience of them was that they were friendly helpful and understanding, whilst being qualified to provide advice before and after the tests.
Dr. Bob, I hope I won't be returning to your site again, other than to occasionaly check on how you are doing and if your sense of humor turns corny (OK so far but there's always a danger!) so Id like to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the compassion and diligence you show in attending to people's (often selfish, myself included) concerns. I wish you many many more years of health and happiness.
Response from Dr. Frascino
I don't have much personal experience with the Determine HIV-1/2 test, as it is not FDA approved for use in the U.S. yet. My European colleagues; however, advise me it's an accurate and reliable assay, essentially equivalent to the FDA-approved tests used here. Assuming that is indeed the case (and I believe it is), a negative test at the three-month mark would be considered definitive and conclusive, barring any extenuating circumstances (which you do not have). False-negative results are extremely rare in all HIV-antibody assays in general. I would encourage you to believe your negative result is indeed WOO-HOO-able and start doing cartwheels across Piccadilly Circus. (Oh, I suppose that would be a very un-British thing to do, now wouldn't it?)
Thanks for the information about testing in Britain. I agree the Terrence Higgins Trust does excellent work.
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