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Donating $100, would appreciate some insight to my situation
Jul 3, 2010

Hello Dr. Bob,

Im at week 15 of a possible exposure (brief vaginal intercourse with a high risk female in the US). Between weeks 1 and 5 I was very ill with a variety of symptoms most of which I have never had before and all seem to be listed in every place I researched about HIV infection. I did not have any fever but had a rash that still hasnt gone away (red dots that keep appearing all over my body, most go away after 2 or 3 days) 1 on the inside of my arm is a red dot that formed a skin tag on the surface (is this concerning/normal?). Also had 3 outbreaks of hives on my legs each one disappeared after about an hour.

For the last 3 weeks Ive had a very mild lingering sore throat, at the same time Ive noticed 3 lymph nodes (1 above the left clavicle the size of a marble, 1 smaller one above the right clavicle and an even smaller one on the right side of my neck) all 3 keep coming and going.

Most concerning to me is that I have had genital herpes for 12 years, and over the last month I have experienced 4 separate outbreaks, 2 at the same time and the other 2 one right after the other. I understand that outbreaks occur due to weakened immune system? Should I be concerned about this? Despite sleeping well, Im also constantly fatigued all day long.

I had 5 HIV tests (6 weeks EIA, 8 weeks EIA, 9 weeks insti, 13 weeks insti, and 14 weeks EIA) 6, 8, 9, 13 weeks were Neg, results of the 14 week will be in next week. Also Neg for all other STDs.

1) is it possible in any way that I actually contracted HIV and that is whats causing my lingering/on going illness/symptoms?

2) How conclusive/reliable are the test results I've done so far? Do I need anymore testing??

3) I spoke with the Public Health Lab that does all HIV tests, they said they use EIA for HIV 1 and 2 but only for groups M and O. Is there a chance I contracted group N/P strain?

4) Would the test for M/O pick up all the subtypes? Are there specific tests for each group and subtype? 4)How is it possible to be sure a person did not acquire a rare group/subtype other than just assumption because they are too rare?

Thank very much, be well.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

1. Nope. Your repeatedly negative HIV-antibody tests are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. Your 14-week test will undoubtedly also be negative.

2. See #1 above.

3. The chances of contracting one of these extremely rare strains in the U.S. is so remote it's essentially nonexistent.

4. The current HIV-antibody screening tests are extremely accurate, however EIA screening may fail to detect the N subtype. There have been no recognized infections with the N strain in the United States through March 2000.

Second #4. This is based on epidemiological study and statistical risk. For instance, it is possible you could be walking by a high-rise building enjoying a Starbucks nonfat latte when someone accidentally drops an eggplant out his window from the 69th floor, which then happens to thwack you in the noggin at high speed, causing you to spill your hot Starbucks coffee onto a bicycle rider who then veers off course and right into the path of an oncoming bus of Mormons on their way to a gay circuit party rave. See what I mean? The theoretical possibility is there, but in reality, let's face it, Mormons never go to circuit parties, right? It doesn't mean they can't. It's just so extremely unlikely that you don't have to worry about it.

Thanks for your $100 donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated.

Stop worrying and start WOO-HOO-ing, OK?

Dr. Bob



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