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Dr. Bob, i have a specific concern which is going on my mind, and only a specialist can answer it. Thank you.
Jan 15, 2010

Dr. Bob, I have been smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for the past 13 years and drinking too much beer every day for the past same 13 years, due to some sort of problems in my life. But right now from the new year 2010, I am in the process of cleaning up my act, after seeing how my health is spoiling. I always used to have elevated liver enzymes because of my drinking. I am confident that i can make an amazing come back, when it comes to smoking and drinking, and concentrate on my career, family life etc.

One year back I had unprotected sex with a person, whom I dont know much about. After that I got the HIV antibody tests HIV1/HIV2 done three times, at 3 months, 6 months and 10 months interval after the exposure. All of them are antibody tests.

My question is

a) Because I have been smoking and drinking so much, will that delay the sero-conversion or will it have an effect on the HIV antibody test result, by causing a false negative result. Do you think I need a PCR test to make sure I dont have HIV? They say that smoking and drink causes immunesuppression, so that is why I am worried.

b) One other thing I am also worried about is what if I already have cancer, I dont know if I do have cancer or if I dont have cancer. Because I smoked so much, I am thinking that I have chances of having cancer. I dont know what test to be tested for cancer. Right now I am 36 year old.

If I have cancer, would that have an effect on the HIV antibody test result, or will it affect the widow period or delayed sero-conversion, do I need a PCR test if that is the case?

Please doctor I need your advice?

Dr. Bob, sorry i forgot to tell you that all my HIV antibody test results upto 10 months were negative. (Submitted Jan 13, 2010)

Dr. Bob,

I was reading through the previous question that i submitted like an hour ago, in which i forgot to tell you that my HIV antibody test results came out to be negative.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

A. Cigarette and alcohol abuse will not affect the duration of the window period or accuracy of HIV tests. PCR testing is not necessary.

B. Your doctor can evaluate you for medical problems related to your cigarette and alcohol abuse. There is no one test for cancer. Most cancers would not affect HIV-antibody test results or duration of the window period.

I applaud your decision to clean up your act. Certainly if you don't, the cigarettes and booze will plant you six feet under long before HIV!

Dr. Bob



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