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No Blood Donation Rejections = Negative for HIV?
Jun 24, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob,

I want to start off by saying that I absolutely have NEVER donated blood to get an HIV test. I know that's unethical and places others at risk.

7 years ago I had an unprotected sex encounter (I'm female, he's male). He didn't ejaculate inside of me, and I didn't have any other STDs. I had a negative HIV test 11 weeks after the incident -- not quite the magical 12 week marker you always talk about. Since then, I have donated blood 3 times. I answered all the pre-donation questions truthfully, and was donating for altruistic reasons, not to get an HIV test.

Lately I've had anxiety about HIV. I've had some symptoms (rashes, some weight loss, etc.) that have me worried. The fact my blood test was only at 11 weeks, not 12, makes me feel it's not conclusive. So my question is, does the fact that I was able to donate blood 3 times mean I am indeed negative? What if I missed the Red Cross notification in the mail each time? If I had tested positive would they put me on a "do not accept" list for blood donations?

This is really worrying me and I feel that I am being totally irrational. I suspect I have an anxiety disorder and am considering seeking treatment.

Can I woohoo??? THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE DOCTOR!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your fears are unwarranted. Do you really think you would miss three separate notifications in the mail from the Red Cross?

Your HIV risk (unprotected receptive penile-vaginal sex with a partner of unknown HIV serostatus and without ejaculation) was reasonably low. Your 11-week negative HIV test is extremely encouraging, even if it didn't quite hit the definitive three-month mark. Despite the fact I'm extremely confident you are HIV negative, if you remain concerned about your HIV status despite my reassurances, get another HIV test. The result will undoubtedly be negative. But if it puts your residual fears permanently to rest, it will be worth the effort psychologically.

As for your anxiety disorder, psychotherapy (counseling) and/or anti-anxiety medications can be extremely helpful.

To sum up, I suggest you WOO-HOO immediately and also consider getting treatment for your anxiety.

Good luck.

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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