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To be, or not to be.
Sep 12, 2010

Dear Dr. Bob,

Hi! I have been reading your forum, it is very interesting, and informative, and you are doing a great job. I am sorry. I did not realise that you, yourself are positive. Well done for being so courageous. Go You!

I am a 52 year old female. Last November I had stupidly had an unprotected sexual encounter with a HIV positive man (I did not know about his status). Being as naieve as I am, I did not even think, or worry about the possibility of my catching HIV. It suddently dawned on me, in May, this year.

In January, I suffered from a stubborn ulcer in my mouth, tiredness, nausea, and excruiating bone pain. I went to my GP, who told me to chill out!

Soon after the above symptoms had subsided, I began to experience a whole array of symptoms: weight loss, UTI infections, vaginal infections, a dry cough, a systemic yeast infection, where my skin, and nails, have become sticky, slow healing wounds, bleeding gums. All of this began in Jaunary, and has become progressivly worse since then. I have now lost 15% of my body weight. I weighed a healthy 75kgs in January, I am now down to 60kgs.

What is going on here? Is it HIV infection? And old one, a new one, or both?

I ran two home tests, one of them, the new Determine Combo blood test, and a urine test, both were negative. I have also been to an STI doctor, who ran a test, and said it was negative. But I dont believe it, I am sure that the doctor has fudged my results.

Is it possible that I might have some rare type of HIV, or subtype? Or hybrid virus? That cannot be picked up in tests? Are there any documented cases of this?

Thanks dr. Bobby! from a very worried: Chinzia.

PS: Do you believe that the reason why there is not cure for HIV/AIDS is because it is not in the interests of the pharmaceutical industry to find one?

By the way, I live in Dublin, Ireland.

Please answer me, because I am going insane with worry, and have been, for the past six months!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Chinzia,

Unprotected sex with an HIVer certainly does put you at risk for STDs, including HIV. However, you've now had at least three negative HIV tests. If any of these tests were beyond the six-month mark, you can be certain you are HIV negative.

As for a doctor fudging your test results, no, I don't believe that. Why would someone ever even consider doing such a thing. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Could you have a rare type of HIV or subtype O? No, the chances of this are so remote they become essentially nonexistent. You can read more about rare subtypes and subtype O in the archives.

Do I think a cure for HIV/AIDS has not been found because it is not in the interest of the pharmaceutical industry? No, absolutely not. You can review my comments about a cure for HIV in the archives of this forum. We have an entire chapter devoted to that topic.

My advice is that if you haven't had an HIV test outside the six-month window period (for significant HIV exposures), you should get one. I'm quite confident it, too, will be negative. That result is conclusive and definitive.

For your symptoms, I'd recommend you see a competent general internal medicine physician. A negative HIV-antibody test outside the window period trumps "symptoms" each and every time. Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. You may very well have something, but that something is not HIV.

By the way, I was in Dublin last week! What a fun city! We should have met up for Guinness at pub!

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob



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