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Thank You for Taking the Time to Reassure This Classic Fluffernutter
Jun 4, 2010

HI there, Dr. Bob,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for responding to my concerns about cancer treatments and seroconversion. I cannot tell you the hours of my life I wasted scouring the internet and scaring myself to pieces. My HIV obsession was (and still is to some degree) based on irrational fear. It is just terribly scary to realize how close I came to contracting this virus. I wonder why people have such a hard time accepting that they are not "virally enhanced"?

The fact that you, a respected and informed physician, are here to help educate and reassure is priceless. I know that you are upfront and honest and my paranoia has dissipated 10 fold since reading your response. I am still waiting on my last and final HIV test, but I know that it will be negative.

May good Karma vibes always be in YOUR life!

*hugs* Concerned and Paranoid Momma

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Concerned and Paranoid Momma,

Thanks for your thanks and the hugs. Much of the irrational fear surrounding HIV/AIDS relates to stigma, myth and misinformation. Early in the epidemic it developed a reputation of being a disease of the "undesirables:" I.V. Drug users, gays, the sexually promiscuous, etc. AIDS hysteria erupted when we did not understand what caused AIDS, how it's transmitted, or how to treat it. Political and rightwing religious crackpots didn't help. To this day we still don't have effective HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs in the U.S.!

I remain confident your final (unnecessary) HIV test will once again confirm what we already know: You are HIV negative. Once you yell WOO-HOO like a banshee in heat, I'll gladly remove your name from the official Dr. Bob's Fluffernutter List.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

I will ask again... Past cancer treatments delay seroconversion?! May 28, 2010

I had sex with a man that was HIV+.

Unprotected anal, vaginal and everything in between.

Last encounter was winter 2003.

I underwent chemo, stem-cell transplant and radiation therepy for non-hodgkins lymphoma. Treatment was completed spring of 2002. My immune system took a while to fully recover. As far as I know, my counts have been fine at my yearly follow-ups, but my records are not in my hand and I rarely ask about specifics regarding what the counts are.

I did run across an article that stated that cd4 counts can take up to 6 years in stem-cell trasplant patients to stabilize. *If* my cd4 counts were low, would the delay seroconversion?

I tested negative Oct. 2005 and again in April 2007. They were both blood tests.

Would my past treatments delay seroconversion? Yes, another question that never dies. I had another blood test drawn 12 days ago (business days). I will let you know what the results are when I get them (if they ever arrive back *frustrated*). You can then add my story to the fluffernutter archives. Until then, I am still paranoid.

Thanks, Concerned Momma

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Paranoid Concerned Momma,

Your choice to have "unprotected anal, vaginal and everything in between" did put you at risk for STDs, including HIV. Your repeatedly negative tests out to four years (April) are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted. Your chemotherapy, stem-cell transplant and radiation therapy completed in the spring of 2002 would not affect HIV-antibody test results years later. Even your hypothetical situation involving depressed CD4 counts would not delay seroconversion. There was no indication for obtaining another HIV test 12 days ago. The result will undoubtedly be negative. Stop testing and stop worrying about a disease you could not possibly have. Until you do, at your request I'm adding you to Dr. Bob's official fluffernutter list.

Yell WOO-HOO and put this behind you, OK?

Dr. Bob



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