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Question validity of HIV antibody tests due to multiple infections and symptomatology
Oct 30, 2010

Dear Doctor:

Wrote you about five months ago regarding my case, HIV testing along with Hep A, B, C and HIV1 and HIV2 till a year and a week with negative results for contact with urine container in clinical site. About nine months prior had another clinical incident with a nurse, splash on eye from HIV patient. During latter incident, eye splash, tested 21 times negative. During first incident tested negative till one year and a week, to be precise.

During this time period I've had two yeast infections, chronic cough for 7 months, tonsilitis with white patch for a month and a half (which is how it started) sore thorat up to present time, with what I believe to be esophagitis, left leg muscle pain for two months, left lower leg pain for four months, left arm elbow pain for a month, tonsilithis, two diarrheas, fatigue for two months, skin itching now for two weeks, insomnia. My children tonsilitis bacterial(with fever)antibiotics given and viral with thrus for a month and a half, monthly colds, tonsilithis, older one five to six sore throats, tonsilithis. Mother consistent sinusitus, left leg pain in knee for over four months, constant cough with some chest tightness. Husband chronic sinusitus, once night sweats with cough.

All doctors tell me HIV negative. Don't worry. Meanwhile all of this is going on.

Is there truly a test that will have an answer for me? Do I have to have my children's CD4's run? (terrified)

Of course your donation is there.

I can't seem to trust many of the doctors or nurses I've run into. As matter of fact the second incident before we were going I specically asked any precautions I should take with patient HIV. Her reply, "Are you going to sleep with him?"

These are the things that I've endured and just do not know for how much longer I will be able to endure it.

Thank you for anything you can guide me to or referred me to for information. Please help our family in gearing us in the right direction.

Hope you're doing well, of course

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Welcome back to the forum. Sorry you are still plagued with worries about HIV! There is certainly no medical or laboratory justification for such worries!

Your two incidents have extremely low risks for HIV transmission. Your multiple (highly excessive) negative HIV tests provide definitive and conclusive evidence that transmission did not occur. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted for you (or your family). I have to agree with "all the doctors" who have advised you that you are unquestionably HIV negative.

Your concerns seem to be focused on a myriad of symptoms that you, your children, your mother and your husband are experiencing. I can only assume you are worried not only that you have contracted HIV, but that you have subsequently infected your children, mother and husband as well! These fears are completely irrational. HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. Your fears that a persistent sore throat is "esophagitis" are also unwarranted. Unless you've been to medical school, you are not qualified to make such diagnoses!

Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. A negative HIV test outside the window period (not to mention scores of negative tests!) trump symptoms each and every time. The symptoms you list are common and certainly not HIV specific!

Should you have CD4 counts performed on your children? No, absolutely not, frevinsakes!

Is there truly a test that will have an answer for you? Yes, and you've already taken it over and over again. The answer is that you are HIV negative. You, however, are having difficulty believing that answer. Consequently what you need is help with your anxiety and irrational fears of HIV. Anti-anxiety medicaments and psychotherapy (counseling) would be the most effective means of helping you not only confront and conquer your unwarranted worries, but also to accept the truly wonderful news that you (and your family) are HIV negative.

Follow-up with a good general internist for you, your husband and mother, and with a good pediatrician for your kids to evaluate and treat any persistent or bothersome symptoms is also warranted. Perseverating on HIV as the cause of the symptoms is not helpful and may be impeding your recovery!

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated.

Feel better, OK?

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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