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can you please answer me ... i know you are busy but please
Oct 29, 2009

ok. in case you decide to answer my concerns/questions i will ask all of them at once and hope that you reply. I need your expert knowledge to understand this very complex thing called HIV. 1. WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT HIV RESERVOIRS DOES IT MEAN THAT THE VIRUS CAN HIDE IN THE BODY THEREFORE TESTS MAY NOT PICK IT UP? OR IS THAT SOMETHING ELSE.? 2. WHY DO BLOOD DONATION BOOKLETS SAY IF YOU ARE GAY AND HAVE HAD SEX AT LEAST ONCE SINCE 1977 YOU CAN'T DONATE BLOOD? 3. SINCE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS VARIABLE, HOW CAN WE TRUST THAT 6 MONTHS IS REALLY CONCLUSIVE TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE HIV NEGATIVE? ONE COUNSELOR TOLD ME THAT IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO HIV THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO KEEP CHECKING BECAUSE IT COULD LAY DORMANT IN YOUR BODY. OF ALL THE PEOPLE I HAVE SPOKEN TO SHE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO SAID THAT. VERY SCARY THOUGHT.

I GUESS I COULD BE SELFISH AND ASK MANY OTHER QUESTIONS BUT I KNOW YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS

THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING ONCE MORE.

BY THE WAY, I READ IN AN ARTICLE ABOUT A PROMINENT HIV DOCTOR HERE IN MIAMI (FROM 1990) THAT AT THAT TIME OF THE 600. 000 LICENSED PHYSICIANS IN THE US, ONLY 2000 WERE ACCEPTING HIV/AIDS PATIENTS. THAT WAS AN EYE OPENER....

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

1. HIV can "hide" in various reservoirs in the body. For instance, the virus's genetic material can be incorporated into certain long-lived immune cells. When those cells are activated ("turned on") the virus then begins to replicate and cause damage. Despite being able to "hide" in these very clever locales, this does not mean HIV tests would not detect the virus. The diagnostic test we use is an HIV-antibody test. It measures the body's immune response to being infected with HIV. The immune response to HIV involves the production of specific anti-HIV antibodies, which are proteins that circulate in the blood. Hence, despite the reservoirs, the HIV-antibody test would still be accurate and an infected person would test HIV positive.

2. This is an idiotic rule that has no scientific basis. It was put into place to protect the blood supply a number of years ago. However, a sexually active gay man who has tested HIV negative outside the window period is just as safe as his heterosexual counterpart. The virus really doesn't care if you're gay, straight, bi-curious or even closeted Mormon Republican.

3. Because we've been intensely studying HIV and the immune response to HIV infection for the past 28 years! The counselor who told you that you had to keep testing should not be a counselor, as she is spreading misinformation. Please feel free to send her a copy of this response and encourage her to sign onto this Web site (or any respectable HIV information Web site) or to check with her supervising physician so that she can be reeducated.

Dr. Bob



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