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Possible infection in Africa negative tests and severe symptoms
Oct 25, 2009

Dear Dr Bob,

Thank you for your incredible work I wish I had experienced only a fraction of your sensitivity and commitment from the numerous doctors I have seen in the past 3 months that my symptoms last:

Persistent headache, Sleep disorders and nightmares, Tingling feeling in hands, feet, legs, Muscle aches, Fatigue, weakness, feeling dizzy, Trouble focussing eyes, Night sweats, Sweaty hands, Rashes that appear and disappear, sometimes itching

Symptoms started appearing 3 weeks after having sex with a girl in an East African Country, although I honestly do not remember how I exactly could have come into contact with any infections fluid. Back in my home country I consulted numerous doctors including HIV specialists that could not find any explanation for the symptoms. EBV, Lyme disease Hep etc are ruled out, my lab results are ok. I took four HIV Antibody tests out to the 17ths week, and since results came back negative and doctors dismisssed my symptoms as "unexplainable". Against the last experts advice I insisted on a PCR test out of pure fear for my life.

Is there any chance I have not contracted HIV? What else do you suggest me to do?

Thank you and all the best! David

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello David,

Unfortunately, I cannot diagnose the exact cause of your symptoms over the Internet. However, assuming you have negative HIV-antibody tests for HIV-1/HIV-2 out to 17 weeks, what I can do is advise you what is not causing your symptoms: It's not HIV! I'm very confident that your "PCR" test was undetectable. Right? Yeah, I thought so.

If multiple physicians have not been able to identify a physical cause for your symptoms, I'd recommend you be evaluated for psychosomatic illness. Psychosomatic illness can and does cause very real symptoms. Many of your symptoms are very consistent with anxiety.

Is there any chance you have not contracted HIV? Absofrickenlutely! In fact your repeatedly negative tests out to 17 weeks are definitive. HIV is not your problem.

What else would I suggest you do? Get evaluated and treated for anxiety/psychosomatic illness.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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