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Life decision
Dec 14, 2009

Dr.- My brother requires a kidney transplant and I am a suitable donor, my entire family expects me to do so. I too would like to help him but am very concerned about my status. I had an exposure 7 months ago and have had tons, and I mean TONS, of symptoms that point directly to HIV.

However, I have tested negative on Elisa 1/0/2 and a PCR DNA at 6 months.

My exposure could have been from a remote locale so am concerned that these tests may be missing something. I don't want to put my brother at risk if they are missing something, I mean I have soooooo many issues. I even saw a specialist who suggested further observation past the CDC 6 months because of my symptoms.

Questions are:

1. Could the tests I have taken miss some types? How would I be tested for those other types?

2. Will they run more sensitive tests prior to the transplant?

3. Is it safe for me to be the donor?????

I want to be sure that in helping my brother and family that I don't ruin everyone.

I trust you to help me with this situation.

Time sensitive, please reply.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

1. Doubtful, but if you are seeing a qualified HIV specialist or infectious disease specialist and that physician suggests additional testing or observation, I'd recommend you follow his advice. Depending on how critical the need is for transplantation, perhaps the surgery can be postponed a bit.

2. Yes. But nothing any more sensitive than a qualitative HIV PCR DNA!

3. Based on what you shared, I would conclude you are not HIV infected. Consequently, from that standpoint, I'd say you are safe to be the donor. However, I can't advise over the Internet if you have some other ongoing non-HIV medical problem that might preclude you from being a donor.

Good luck. You can always get a second opinion if you remain confused. Chances are you are a suitable and safe donor.

Dr. Bob



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