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Stuck in a dark place and can't move on

Mar 11, 2011

Hi Dr. Frascino,

I hope you had a great vacation down under and this finds you in good health.

I wrote to you before about my 87 day HIV 1/2 AB EIA test which came out nonreactive. I never had bad acne but now I have these large pimple like (I'm convinced it's folliculitis) all over my face and other parts of body which leave behind hyperpigmented blemishes. I have dry peeling skin which i never had before and my stomach has never been the same since my mistake (oral on a sex worker for a few seconds). I've deal with painful mouth ulcers every 3-4 months with body aches. Now Im seeing dry peeling skin on my penis (which I think is Candida) apparently a symptom of a weakened immune system.

After having a near breakdown (after an episode of mouth ulcers) and losing about 10 lbs within matter of weeks and increasing folliculitis, I went back and got another test from the same labs (quest diagnostics) and came out nonreactive to HIV 1/2 AB EIA test 358 days post exposure. I am still having a hard time thinking that I am HIV negative and now I'm convinced that I have agammaglobulinemia (always prone to sinus, flu, chest infections which can only be take care of with antibiotics since I was a child) and that I never produced HIV antibodies for the tests to detect.

Then I found this CDC article from 1994 about a guy who never produced antibodies. (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00040569.htm). I am convinced that this is what's happening to me. And then theres the possibility of a strand that standard EIA 1/2 AB tests might not pickup.

I feel like my life is a mess and the guild of thinking that I have infected my fiancee who I'm suppose to marry next year is unbearable. I feel like I have destroyed the most loving, caring, beautiful woman in the world with my selfish, stupid behavior. I told her all of this and broke down before the last test and she said that no matter what she will always be there and love me regardless which made feel so ashamed and guilty, beyond words can explain.

I am not sure what to do now and it feels like my life and future plans are on hold as I try to deal with all this. Any advice or guidance you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Before each of my test, I read up so much about living with HIV and I was mentally prepared to face it but the thought of her being infected by me became hard to live with. I broke down each time I got the HIV negative result and questioned why I get a break when better people have not in life.

The only positive thing since all this began is that now I have a better appreciation for life and the urge to help people dealing with life changing issues. Im going to continue donating my time and money to causes such as yours and others trying to help others.

Since you are always sending good karma to all the writes, here's some good karma to you and please stay well and healthy.

Best,

The dumbest guy in the world

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Dumbest Guy in the World,

I really doubt you qualify for your moniker (unless, of course, you happen to be George "Dubya" Bush).

I agree your life is indeed a "mess." However, HIV is not your problem; irrational fear and guilt are! Your negative HIV tests out to 358 days are definitive, conclusive and WOO-HOO-able. No, you don't have agammaglobulinemia!

As for what to do next, I'd suggest you see a psychiatrist. Irrational fears and obsession with HIV can be a sign of depression, OCD or hypochondriasis. Folks who obsess about HIV infection despite overwhelming and irrefutable evidence they are not infected often do so because it's easier than dealing with more difficult issues, like guilt and infidelity.

Dr. Bob



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