60 year old with no antibodies but HIV positive?

Question

I'm a 60 year old female. I was exposed to an HIV positive man 5 years ago. I have tested negative for HIV (I even took a PCR RNA test). HOWEVER, ever since exposure my body has literally gone haywire. For the first eight months after exposure I had a painful chronic oral and vaginal yeast infection that was unresponsive to drugs prescribed by my OB/GYN. Mysteriously vanished after 8 months. Then:

  1. Debilitating joint pain (subsided after about 4 years).
  2. Retina damage (CMV?-tested once, proved negative).
  3. White tongue and bone growth in mouth.
  4. Cranial growth above eyebrows.
  5. Severe hair loss.
  6. Rash on hands (looked like a roadmap-subsided after one year.
  7. Hot flashes (never had after menopause-started immediately after exposure.
  8. Recent severe forgetfulness.
  9. Swelling above left ankle, initially no pain, has become painful in recent months.
  10. Bloating, foamy urine, clear urine.
  11. Was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer (DCIS) and treated with lumpectomy and radiation in 2009.
  12. Other health issues too numerous to mention. My question is this, what is the most accurate HIV test, my doctor has not been helpful. (I went to an infectious disease specialist 3 years ago, he administered the pcr rna test and said not to worry). I'm concerned that my stress at discovering my partner's deceit and HIV status has altered my immune system (I literally was unable to sleep for months). I realize I would be a medical anomaly if I'm not creating antibodies after so much time, but I need help. I considered donating blood to the Red Cross but felt that would be unethical. Thank you for your help.

Answer

Hi,

Despite your symptoms, medical history and your personal belief that you are "virally enhanced," I agree with the infectious disease specialist: HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV tests are warranted. Your negative HIV-antibody tests plus your undetectable HIV plasma PCR RNA viral load test, which, by the way, does not rely on antibodies, are definitive and conclusive. I'm not saying your symptoms or medical problems aren't real, I'm merely pointing out you have overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that HIV is not the cause of your problems! I would suggest you follow up with a good general internist and stop perseverating on a disease you could not possibly have.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob