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WAITING

Jun 3, 2001

I am in a constant state of waiting............for the next test result. Hi Dr. Cohen- I begged for your opinion and I will test to 12 months but is there a test to end this constant panic of always waiting for the next test because I have to carry this to the max? My hair is falling out by the handfuls and I am afraid to wash it now. Would you advise me on a test to end this waiting and panic-driven life in which I exist? I HAVE BEEN VERY PATIENT BUT I AM APPROACHING 42 WEEKS AND 10 WILL TRAANSLATE INTO A FULL YEAR. I would like an answer -A TEST to have better confidence because how will I know if I can stop at 12 or 13 months. I read in a book at Barnes and Noble that some people take 35 months. I am addicted to taking the elisa and I know far too many people at the test sites. Tell me a test to take to end thjis nightmare once and for all PLEASE.

Response from Dr. Cohen

Well.... what is clear is that an extraordinarily unlikely event - being HIV positive despite numerous negative tests -is overwhelming to you. You can do other tests such as a viral load to supplement the antibody testing. That might add to your comfort level.

But ultimately, it sounds like you need to get to someone you can talk with. Since an extremely unlikely event is making you miserable. If I told you that there was a 0.0001% percent chance that you could be hit in the head by a rutabaga falling from the 15th floor of the buildings you walk by - would you stay home?

You have done what can be done to be assured at this time that whatever happened, HIV wasn't in the picture. How you can live your life knowing that extremely rare things happen is your challenge. The next test will almost certainly show what the others did. What it sounds like is that you need something other than a test - you need a way to help cope with the feelings that are overwhelming your ability to live a normal life. And I hope that somewhere, you look for and find that help. It is far more likely that this search can be more fruitful than the one you are now on.

Good luck.



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