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Advice needed Dr Bob
Mar 11, 2010

Dr Bob,

Firstly I would like to say what a great job you are doing on this forum. How do I make a donation?

My situation happened in June 2009. Went to a stag do/bachelor party in Barcelona. Ended up in strip club, can't remember what happened, stupid I know. Since then have had many symtoms. Coating on the sides, not edges of tongue, and back of tongue, 3 weeks after incident. No coating ion the middle. Soft stools, sometimes diarrhoea from about the same time, weird since I have always had constipation issues!! Have lost a significant amount of weight, noticeable around my bum and clothes are quite loose as well as trousers, my wedding ring doesn't fit now, very loose. My back always feels hot. My fingernails seem to have lost their cuticles and off-white marks are visible around the area where the lunula should be. This is evident on about 4 fingers including both thumbs. Are these symptoms indicative of HIV?

I have had some tests done. Duo on days 31 and 68, both negative. A test at Gum clinic at end of Jan 2010, not sure is elisa or PCR, negative. Have had some insti tests bought over internet and done at 3,4,5,6 months after incident, all negative. Am I one of those freaks that doesn't serroconvert yet exhibits sign and syptoms of hiv??!! My wife just miscarried our second child last weekend and I am so worried that I have given her the disease and God and the world are punishing her for being married to a loser like me. Please help Dr Bob. I will donate to your great organisition. Many thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Don't be so hard on yourself! Don't all bachelor parties either have strippers in attendance or wind up in a local Badda Bing with Bouncing Berthas doing the shimmy-shimmy and spinning tassels from their silicon-inflated ta-tas for horned-up drunk dudes? Certainly that's the way most of the ones I've gone to wind up. And I'm gay!

Regarding your HIV-acquisition risk, you don't even remember what happened, so that makes it a bit hard to give you a risk rating.

As for "symptoms," they are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected.

Regarding HIV testing, a negative HIV-antibody test outside the "window period" trumps "symptoms" each and every time. Your repeatedly negative HIV tests out to six months are definitive, conclusive and WOO-HOO-able. Unfortunately I can't diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet, but what I ca do is advise you with great certainty as to what is not causing them: It's not HIV. No way. No how!

Are you a late seroconverter? No, you are not. You are merely an "HIV-worried well" with irrational fears about being infected despite overwhelming and irrefutable evidence proving you are not. You have lots of company here. Just check the archives. In fact I've recently created a special category for folks like you in the archives entitled "I'm Positive I'm Positive." It's filled completely with HIV-negative folks! Check it out!

My advice is simple:

1. Stop worrying about a disease you could not possibly have. If my reassurance is not sufficient for you to shake your fears, get psychological or psychiatric help to help you confront your irrational fears and accept the truly wonderful news of your definitive HIV-negative status.

2. Level with your wife if you haven't already done so. It's not only the best way to confront your guilt; it's also the right thing to do.

3. See an internal medicine physician for evaluation of any persistent or worrisome symptoms. However, remember HIV is not your problem!

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck/good-health karma that you are now and will always be HIV free!

Be well!

Dr. Bob



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