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Diagnosed with Lyme Disease First, then HIV suspected
Jul 7, 2011

Hi Doctor; I entered the ER 2 weeks ago for fever and watery diarrhea -typical stomach flu, which came quickly and left quickly, but it was bad. My doctor was alarmed, I was admitted because of an unusually low White Blood Cell count normally (3200 but dipped due to the stomach virus), which is genetic and I explained to him. My aunt who is a gyno confirmed our genetics as African Americans, but he didn't believe her. My WBC improved quickly, but he still went on a mission to find out why my WBCs are low- medical mystery for him! First he diagnosed me me with Lyme disease (testing positive) and gave me antibiotics. He then asked me to take a Rapid HIV test, which was negative (at least that's what he told me). However, he said he was going to test it again! Why? Not sure. It was negative 6 months ago, it was negative now. He took another blood sample and this one was HIV positive. He said I don't have Lyme Disease, the test was wrong, but he thought its probably HIV. He said I must have been exposed less than four weeks ago as somehow the test shows that it wasn't long ago. He wanted me to take a confirmatory test done two Fridays ago, and its driving me crazy. Why is this HIV test taking over 10 days? Ive given up on calling for results, partly because its too stressful to call anymore and I get worked up. I don't trust the results anyway. How could the rapid test be negative, and the next positive and he trusts it? Lyme disease is a separate test; why did those positive Lyme disease results become null and void? I know I need only to wait for the results of this more thorough test, but should I get tested by another doctor too? I feel like taking a dozen HIV tests right now. I'm convinced I'd get different results.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello.

Without seeing exactly what tests were ordered and the results, it's difficult for me to comment. The big question here is have you put yourself at risk for HIV? If so, testing is warranted, whether or not you have symptoms or laboratory abnormalities such as a low white count. If you have no HIV risk, there is no way you could be HIV infected.

Diagnosing HIV disease is not rocket science. Your confirmatory test (Western Blot) should be back very soon. If positive, you should consult an HIV specialist who will run more sophisticated tests to confirm your diagnosis (or show that you had a "false positive" test result) and other tests to gauge any damage to the immune system and quantify viral activity if you truly are positive.

Try to stay calm. This will get sorted out one way or the other very soon.

I'm here if you need me, OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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