Fatal HIV Encephalitis in HIV-Seronegative Patients

Question

Doc, Just came across this link on CDC website, its only a few weeks old(http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/15/1/129.htm). This kind of stuff scares the you know what out of me. I have had super bad symptoms since my exposure to a CSW all right right on cue and are now being mirrored by my Fiance(I really f-ed up). I had 9 week antibody come back negative. So basically you can never be 100% sure you dont have HIV is that correct? There will always be some wierd strain/type/form of HIV that tests dont pick up yet? Right?

Answer

Hi,

The case report referenced is an extremely unusual one involving a woman with multiple medical problems (hypothyroidism, depression, chronic alcohol abuse) and psychosocial problems (jail inmate). The authors of the article discuss several possible explanations for the patient's unusual laboratory findings and clinical course, the most likely being the acquisition of a particularly virulent HIV variant complicated by her chronic alcoholism. This case should not be any more alarming to you than reading about an extremely remote case of a man getting struck by two bolts of lightening simultaneously while walking his dog in the rain. Would a case like that prohibit you from ever again going out in a rain shower? No, of course not! You would just chalk it up to an extremely rare, unlucky and unlikely event. Extremely rare, unlucky and unlikely events occur extremely rarely. That's why they are referred to as extremely rare, unlucky and unlikely events. Clever, eh?

Stop worrying. This extremely rare case has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Dr. Bob