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Thank you for educating us about false positive HIV results!
Oct 14, 2010

Dr. Bob, I have learned so much from your writings about false positive HIV test. I am a healthy 46 year old female without any chronic illnesses. I caught pneumonia (my first time) in late August after returning from a strenuous mountain climb. My doctor thought it was taking me too long to recover, therefore, he wanted to run an HIV test just to be on the safe side.

The HIV tested positive with indeterminate Western Blot. I was shocked. I tested negative 2 years ago after a possible exposure at work (I am a registered nurse); and have tested negative several years prior. I have been celibate for 7 years, The WB repeated as indeterminate. I had a PCR DNA done by infectious disease and it is negative. The ID doctor says he is going to do the PCR RNA test only as a formality so he can close my chart and place "HIV negative" in it. He is convinced that I am HIV negative.

Prior to seeing the ID physician, I was questioning myself as a nurse. Did I somehow get exposed without paying attention? I had major anxiety and a panic attack that sent me to the ER where I work. Unfortunately, the ER physician's demeanor was anything but professional or caring. He made a judgement after viewing my initial positive HIV results.

Looking back, there was no reason for me to be tested in the first place. A person's lifestyle/behavior is a MAJOR piece for diagnosing HIV. Finally, I think the stigma of HIV is probably one of the hardest things that our brothers and sisters with HIV have to deal with. Thanks again Dr. Bob. Peace-RN from Southern California

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi RN from Southern California,

Thank you for taking the time to write in and share your story. I absolutely agree with you. The major error here was made by your doctor. There was no indication for running an HIV test. Your undetectable HIV PCR DNA confirms your negative HIV status. I, too, am completely convinced you are indeed negative. I would not run any additional HIV tests.

You should consider filing a complaint against the ER doc with the inappropriately judgmental attitude.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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