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Struggling to carry on...pt4 (ANOTHER I'M POSITIVE i'M POSITIVE, 2010)
Sep 26, 2010

Dear Dr.Bob,

Well Im here again. Im scared still that I do have HIV. I havent had anymore tests since the last time I wrote to you however, the 12 tests Ive had previous were all negative. Anyway, the cause of my digestive problems has been diagnosed as gastritis and duodenitis following a gastroscopy. However, I didnt have any stomach infection causing it. Just the inflammation. In addition, blood tests for vit. B12 revealed I had B12 levels at the bottom end of normal. The results came back with a recommendation to retest 6 months on. I also had a bout of oral thrush a few weeks ago on my tongue. It was bloody painful. Not like the worried well, white tongue version.

So since, my HIV risk Ive developed a number of symptoms common in HIVers. Gastritis, duodenitis, fatty stools, seborrhoic dermatitis, oral thrush and aggressive periodontal disease all diagnosed by a doctor / dentist. In addition, my finger and toe nails are noticeably curving.

My wife is also having seb derm and periodontal disease symptoms. But, what is really terrifying me it that my son has been having the same digestive symptoms as me. I mean exactly the same, bloating and loose greasy stools that have been going on for months. He must have the same gastritis problem. Hes only 12 and all this has followed a blood exposure from me. Our cat scratched me and several large blobs of blood appeared on the scratch. As I went to get tissues my son came up to me. Stuck his finger in my blood, said yuck! And then wiped this blood onto his other hand where he had a 1cm diameter, 5 day old, graze on his knuckle. The scab on the graze was yellow and crusty looking I think.

Im really terrified that we all have HIV. I just cant understand what else could be causing all these symptoms that are common between us. Im sick of all this and I just dont know what to do or what else other than HIV could cause all this. It must be something infectious!

Thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Struggling to carry on . . . pt 4.

Your and your family's symptoms are not suggestive of nor worrisome for HIV disease. Your son did not have a risk that would transmit HIV. You are HIV negative. HIV is not your problem and therefore you could not have transmitted it to your family. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted.

I would advise four things:

1.) Reread your previous posts below and my very consistent response. HIV is not your problem.

2.) Level with your wife about your drunken indiscretion and current fears (if you have not already done so). It's not only the best way to confront your guilt; it's also the right thing to do.

3.) Because you seem to be unable to accept the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of your HIV-negative status, you should seek the help of a psychiatrist who can help you confront your irrational fears as well as treat your anxiety, depression and guilt.

4.) Work with a general internist for ongoing treatment of your gastrointestinal and other issues.

Dr. Bob

Response to Struggling to carry on....pt 3 Jul 2, 2010

Hi Dr Bob,

Thanks for the reply. Just to let you know that a good few of my tests did include HIV 2. However, I don't think any have been evaluated for group N and P. Are they worth considering or are their possibility to way out there to worry about? thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Testing for extremely rare subtypes is not warranted.

You're welcome!

Dr. Bob

Struggling to carry on....please reply pt 3!! Jun 30, 2010

Dear Dr.Bob,

Cant believe Im still writing to you but, Im getting freaked by worsening symptoms!! To summarise, I had drunken sex with a black CSW in Germany over 3 years ago now. I cant remember enough about it to know if it was unprotected or not. Ive since discovered that over 70% of CSWs in Germany are migrants so there is a high possibility that she was from Africa (never asked at the time or cant remember if I did). Anyway, Ive had 11 antibody tests since then (mixture of 4th gen tests and 2nd and 3rd gen rapid tests) plus, I recently had the Taqscreen Multiplex test. Everything was negative.

Since my risk Ive started to get looser stools, aggressive gum disease, oral thrush and seborrheic dermatitis. All diagnosed by my doctor and dentist. Anyway, the seborrhoea is getting worse. Its gone from just affecting my ears and face to include my arms and groin. I have cream from my GP that helps on my face. But, the area it is affecting is getting bigger and bigger. My dentist is at a loss as to why my gum recession isnt subsiding and I get pain and throbbing in my gums and jaw. Ive had ongoing urithritis symptoms on and off over the last year and over last 6 months Ive started to get very noticeable horizontal ridges and troughs in my nails!!

I really wish I could believe you Dr. Bob when you told me I was negative. But, Im struggling to see that these worsening symptoms could be anything but, HIV. After having all these tests is that really possible? Is there a possibility of a rare strain being missed or that Im not making antibodies that the tests would detect? Is there any other test that would put any possibilities completely to bed? Thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your 11 negative HIV-antibody tests and negative Taqscreen Multiplex Test out three years are definitive, conclusive and WOO-HOO-able. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted (assuming your HIV-antibody tests included HIV-2 due to the possibility your CSW was from West Africa).

I'm not denying your symptoms. Rather, I'm just advising that the cause is not HIV. Unfortunately I cannot diagnose the exact cause of your ailments over the Internet. However, I can with great confidence advise you what is not causing them: It's not HIV!

I would suggest you continue to follow up with a good general internal medicine doctor and your dentist to help you evaluate and treat any persistent symptoms you may have. In addition, if you cannot accept the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that you are HIV negative, you should seek counseling. Psychotherapy can be very helpful in situations like yours.

Good luck. Remember, despite your fears, HIV is not your problem!

Dr. Bob

Struggling to carry on....please reply pt 3!! Jun 30, 2010

Dear Dr.Bob,

Cant believe Im still writing to you but, Im getting freaked by worsening symptoms!! To summarise, I had drunken sex with a black CSW in Germany over 3 years ago now. I cant remember enough about it to know if it was unprotected or not. Ive since discovered that over 70% of CSWs in Germany are migrants so there is a high possibility that she was from Africa (never asked at the time or cant remember if I did). Anyway, Ive had 11 antibody tests since then (mixture of 4th gen tests and 2nd and 3rd gen rapid tests) plus, I recently had the Taqscreen Multiplex test. Everything was negative.

Since my risk Ive started to get looser stools, aggressive gum disease, oral thrush and seborrheic dermatitis. All diagnosed by my doctor and dentist. Anyway, the seborrhoea is getting worse. Its gone from just affecting my ears and face to include my arms and groin. I have cream from my GP that helps on my face. But, the area it is affecting is getting bigger and bigger. My dentist is at a loss as to why my gum recession isnt subsiding and I get pain and throbbing in my gums and jaw. Ive had ongoing urithritis symptoms on and off over the last year and over last 6 months Ive started to get very noticeable horizontal ridges and troughs in my nails!!

I really wish I could believe you Dr. Bob when you told me I was negative. But, Im struggling to see that these worsening symptoms could be anything but, HIV. After having all these tests is that really possible? Is there a possibility of a rare strain being missed or that Im not making antibodies that the tests would detect? Is there any other test that would put any possibilities completely to bed? Thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your 11 negative HIV-antibody tests and negative Taqscreen Multiplex Test out three years are definitive, conclusive and WOO-HOO-able. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted (assuming your HIV-antibody tests included HIV-2 due to the possibility your CSW was from West Africa).

I'm not denying your symptoms. Rather, I'm just advising that the cause is not HIV. Unfortunately I cannot diagnose the exact cause of your ailments over the Internet. However, I can with great confidence advise you what is not causing them: It's not HIV!

I would suggest you continue to follow up with a good general internal medicine doctor and your dentist to help you evaluate and treat any persistent symptoms you may have. In addition, if you cannot accept the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that you are HIV negative, you should seek counseling. Psychotherapy can be very helpful in situations like yours.

Good luck. Remember, despite your fears, HIV is not your problem!

Dr. Bob

Struggling to carry on :-(..please reply - part 2 Jan 3, 2010

Hi Dr.Bob,

Sorry to post a follow up to my original question. But, I'm still worried about having hiv even though I've now had 10 antibody hiv tests (mixture of 4th gen and rapid tests) and it's gone 3 years since my risky encounter. The reason that I'm back is because I've had seborrheic dermatitis and oral thrush confirmed by my doctor and I've also got penile thrush that just wont get better. I just don't understand it. I've started to get so many hiv symptoms but, keep testing negative. I even had blood tests through my doctor that didn't show anything. I'm really concerned that I have hiv and passed it onto my family. My son has a dermatitis rash on his scalp and face like mine and my daughter has had ARS like symptoms (a red measles like rash on her shoulders and arms and enlarged and tender nodes behind both her ears that lasted a few days). We've shared toothbrushes occasionally and the kids have worn my wifes earrings a number of times. I am concerned that I could have got a rare strain that the tests arn't picking up. What shall I do Dr.Bob?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Ten negative HIV tests out three years from your walk on the wild side and still you are perseverating on the possibility of being virally enhanced??? Dude, exactly what part of "HIV negative" are you having trouble understanding?

Your repeatedly negative HIV tests are definitive, conclusive and excessive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted. You did not infect your wife and kids with HIV, because you do not have HIV (and it is not transmitted by casual contact).

As for what to do, I'd suggest you consider getting professional help (psychotherapy) to help you accept the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that you are HIV negative. See a dermatologist for your seborrhea and thrush. Please note, the vast majority of cases of seborrhea and thrush have absolutely nothing to do with HIV disease.

Good luck. Happy 2010.

Dr. Bob

Struggling to carry on :-(..please reply Sep 9, 2009

Dear Dr.Bob,

I'm sorry Dr.Bob. But, I'm really struggling to go on with these symptoms. I used to have a great little life. I love my wife and kids, where I live and even my job. But, Im so stressed that Ive ruined everyones lives. I feel like Ive reached a brick wall and dont know what else to do.

Ive written to you a number of times but, I havent had a reply. The stress Im going though is building and building up as I cant see where to go from here.

My situation is that almost 3 years ago I had sex with a black CSW in a brothel in Germany. I was extremely drunk and cant remember an awful lot of what went on. It started as protected oral, then protected vaginal but, for the life of me I cant remember how well protected it was. I remember her mentioning taking off the condom. But, cant remember if I had unprotected sex or not. The next morning I was horrified at what Id done and also noticed a small tear at the opening of my urethra.

Anyway, I had flu symptoms 4 weeks following this encounter (fever and aches for a week, no sore throat or rash). I got tested at my local GUM clinic (Im in the UK) 7 weeks following my risk and this was negative. Then at 12 weeks, negative again. So at this point I thought, great no HIV and my wife and I started having unprotected sex again. However, I did go to my doctor over an ache I had started to get in my groin area. I had enlarged lymph nodes but, tested negative for Chamydia etc. To me the lymph nodes feel the same as they did then. Anyway, over the last 3 years Ive had a change in bowel habit to softer looser stools and simultaneously rapidly receding gums. After reading up on the causes of rapidly receeding gums I started to worry that Id had a false negative so got tested again. And again it was negative (4th generation test). However, I then got urethritis 7 months ago, tested negative for Chalmydia etc. It cleared up but, recurs every month or so. Plus, over a similar time period Ive been getting sore gums with open sores and ulcers appearing on them. A patch of Psoriasis has also suddenly appeared on my leg that Ive never had before. Ive an area on my back that keeps tingling. Ive also got athletes foot that wont clear up, a very itchy and sore anus (I guess from passing chronic loose stools) and this morning I freaked when I saw a patch of white under my tongue. It looked very much like thrush and wiped off when I touched it. Over the last few months Ive got tested again with a 4th generation hiv test and 2 instant fingerprick tests. All negative. So to summarise my testing: 7 weeks hiv 1 / 2 (possibly 4th gen)-negative 12 weeks hiv 1 / 2 (possibly 4th gen)-negative 2 years and 2 months hiv 1 / 2 4th generation negative 2 years and 10 months hiv 1 / 2 4th generation negative 2 years and 8 months hiv 1 / 2 Insti test negative 2 years and 11 months hiv 1 / 2 insti test negative

Im so down about this now. And think that I have an undetectable strain of hiv and that I have infected my wife (she suddenly started to get heavy periods about 6 months ago). Every time I go to my local clinic they dont seem to listen to me and just offer the same test again. What can I do?? Im having real visible symptoms that are increasing. Please reply this time.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your repeatedly negative HIV tests out to 2 years and 11 months are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No further HIV testing is warranted.

I can't diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet, but what I can do with absolute certainty is advise you what is not causing your symptoms: It's not HIV! There is no doubt that stress, anxiety and depression are contributing to your symptom complex. I would strongly suggest you seek psychotherapy (counseling) to help you cope with your anxiety and depression and also to help you accept the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that you are HIV negative. You are not alone in having this type of problem. Check the archives and you'll find many others with similar irrational and totally unwarranted fears.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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