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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Jul 26, 2006

Dear Dr. Conway, I need your opinion. Please help.I had a risk, a lot of symptoms(lymph-pain,skin problems,pain in hands/foots, body pain,herpes simplex and more. CD4 from 960/41% to 595/35%, CD19 repeatedly low, NK cells repeatedly high(27%). But a lot of ELISA-tests HIV-1/2 negative(about 20 months!)I have done repeatedly DNA PCR tests for HIV-1 and HIV-2.All negative! But I was sure to be infected in the light of my symptoms and pain. That's why,some weeks ago I was in Zurich and I have done a PERT- Test (Prof. Schpbach). The result-PERT on plasma negative. And it was done a viral-culture.(2 PERT-tests weekly on the culture)The first 3 weeks the tests negative,the viral culture will finish next week (4 weeks). Should it be negative,would you say I can absolutely forget about HIV and forget all the symptoms??? The symptoms are not in my head, the bloodwork is not in my head. But, when I would be infected, the PERT-assay would be positive, RIGHT? Please tell me your opinion. Thank you very much. Tom

Response from Dr. Conway

Dear Tom:

I would say that, with or without the PERT test, you need to move on from HIV to actively seeking another cause for your symptoms. The absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 and the absence of virus-specific material (as would be detected by PCR) rule out the presence of either virus, especially at this stage. Looking for endogenous reverse transciptase enzyme is a non-clinical test that you need to consider using only in extreme situations, where you are suspecting a new virus or organism other than HIV. You need to recall that the symptoms you describe are NOT specific to HIV and I would really encourage you to have an open mind and to look beyond HIV for another possible diagnosis that may lead to an effective and specific treatment for your condition. I believe that the symptoms are not in your you need to believe they are not due to HIV and move on.

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