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False Positive?? Please help, no where else to turn
Feb 3, 2011

Dear Dr Bob,

I need your help and dont know where else to turn... I am currently living in a country on a VISA an am scared to get professional advice as I think I am just paranoid, well I hope so anyway!

I have been with my boyfriend now (in a heterosexual relationship) for just over 3 years. 18 months ago I got the full test/screen done (as I had had unprotected sex just before meeting my bf) and my HIV test came back as "slightly positive." The health care worker that I was dealing with at the time told me it was a result he would expect to see if I had been infected within the past 3 weeks, although I had only been with my bf for the past 18 months and no risky behavior within this time. He assured me he thought it was a false positive and I had more blood taken for the Western Blot test.

This came back negative for antibody/antigens and he also said that my viral load was negative. He assured me that I was in fact negative but may produce similar results on further testing. As I had this testing done at a STD clinic in London, UK I left feeling assured I was negative and never said anything to my boyfriend as he was away at the time and I didnt want him to go through what I had just been through.

I am now living in another country and cant get these results out of my head. I have also had diarrhea in the morning and sometimes after I eat for the past 6 months. My boyfriend also has a more sensitive stomach as well as occasional diarrhea and I am scared this is a symptom of HIV in both of us. I have been to the doctor for this and had numerous tests and he tells me it is probably anxiety and stress related. I never told him about the false positive test result though and am scared I may be misdiagnosed...

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I am going insane and want to put this behind me once and for all!

Please, please help as I dont know where else to turn, and dont want to go through this in a foreign country if it is not warranted. Most of all I am scared I could have HIV and passed it onto my boyfriend.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

There is no such thing as a "slightly positive" HIV test just as there is no such thing as being "slightly HIV infected". That you had a subsequent negative HIV-antibody/antigen test plus an undetectable HIV plasma viral load are definitive and conclusive proof that you are HIV negative. I agree your symptoms are related to anxiety, not HIV. If you cannot shake these completely unwarranted fears of being HIV infected, despite the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary, I would advise you seek psychiatric help. You are unquestionably a "worried well" (both worried and well!).

Dr. Bob



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