*Update and reassurance for readers* South Africa asking for help
Jun 13, 2011
Thank you so much for taking the time to allay my fears and point me in the direction of the help that I need.
I'm sending you this update for two reasons other than the Thank you above- I want your readers to know that you are quite spot on in respect of your analysis, even oceans away: I had been to see a psychiatrist a few days prior to writing to you and he called it as OCD/anxiety disorder and suggested an anti-depressant together with cognitive therapy. Sound familiar? :)
Its tough to accept something like that (esp when symptoms persist) but I guess, much easier than the other diagnosis :)
Secondly, and literally just prior to reading your response, I had the absolute good fortune to speak to a leading virologist in SA who was involved with the procurement and implementation of the 4th gen ELISA tests as a diagnostic tool for HIV in this country. She assured me that:
1. The test is remarkably accurate (over 99.7%) in detecting antibodies to hiv1 AND hiv 2 even 8 years post potential exposure.
2. As you eloquently put it, I'd be at deaths door if my body had stopped producing the antibodies in an 8 year period after potential exposure.
3. If (2) were the case (and its evident that its not, because as she said "you'd not be on the phone with me.."), the 4th gen ELISA is a combination which also is designed to detect HIV antigens (p24 i think?) which, once the body stops producing antibodies, kick in again. This is true right?
Also, another message for the readers- Dr. Google is not a diagnostician and watching too much House can make you insane :) I really did believe that my consistent elevated nuetrophil counts equaled advanced stage HIV because I read it on a reputable websites AIDS info page. I believed a lot of things but have come to accept that doctoring is best left to the doctors....
So, all in all, thank you once again - you were remarkably succint and kind ,as was she (she actually called me from her home on a Saturday at the kind but random request of the pathologist on call who I spoke to, just to give me this info).
That there are people like the two of you (actually, three, including the kind pathologist) out there gives hope to humanity.
It's going to be a long road to recovery (btw, I didn't repeatedly test for HIV since the 2003-2007 episodes, just this once in May), psychologically the "monster" has been in my head since then though, and combined with the transient issues of ocd and anxiety, has eaten away at my head...but recover we must :)
Take care and drop a line when you come this side!
Response from Dr. Frascino
Thanks for your extremely kind comments and for taking the time to write in with your update. I'm hopeful your experience and eventual enlightenment will help others still struggling and suffering in their own self-induced worried-well hell.
I'm also delighted your psychiatrist, the pathologist and the virologist all concurred with my assessment.
I'm absolutely confident you are now on the road to recovery of both your psychological and physical well-being. It's quite remarkable that once someone actually believes his negative test results his symptoms often "magically" disappear!
Be well, RM!
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