Does longer wait for traditional test mean bad news?

Question

Dr. Bob, You are a hero, I once had a condom break during anal sex (insertive) and I used this Q&A for hours/days - and sent your foundation a donation. Thankfully, I remained HIV neg. But, like many others, I stopped giving to you - and now in a "crisis" again I find myself going to your website so I am going to make your foundation part of my yearly charitable contributions.

Today's crisis: I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder/OCD - and I am on small dosage of prozac to help. Ironically, I kick a$$ at my job on Wall Street - because I am so neurotic.

Here I go: I had a gay doctor that retired and some friends convinced me to go to primary Dr. affiliated with a top hospital for issues as I age. I had a routine physical - nice and kind doctor - I told him I was gay - but played safe. He suggested annual HIV test and included that in part of my tests.

I am safe - I guess the only activities I do that MIGHT be borderline is I have partners suck me off without a condom on me (I won't do it to others, but many people want to do it to me - I know it sounds selfish). Your archives says this risk is EXTREMELY low - and might be negligent. Also, I rim guys - other than that _ I am 99.9% the insertive partner with anal sex and ALWAYS use a condom properly.

Now my crisis: I had test's and physical on Monday. Never heard from Dr. I called Friday in a panic and he started telling me how great the test came back (PDA, cholersterol, blood cells etc). I quickly snapped - what are my HIV results??!(I don't think straight people can sometimes fully grasp the anxiety. He said Quest labs didn't get back the HIV results and he was going to call me when all results where in. I kept pressing him on why Quest was not in? what does it mean? and he said it could be a number of factors including staffing on holiday weekend (last week before labor day, lab volume", and he did say that positive results are re-tested -I went NUTS. I kept pushing on the phone if that elevated his concern and he said "slightly" - but not in a big way. Now I can't move. I asked if he gave any other HIV tests that week and sent them in for a benchmark and he said "No" - so I took that as good news. I called a gay HIV crisis hotline and they said that the length of time for a traditional HIV test result to come back has zero insight on the potential result - not to worry. Also, they said results can take up to two weeks and the time means nothing - though they do test positive blood twice. I am so screwed up now - can't sleep, missed work yesterday, taking xanax, and can't stop crying. I reviewed my past years sexual history in my mind for 24 hours straight and it's been safe -but I did get sucked off and rimming. I called my gay shrink who thought my Dr. was a bit "clinical" and needs to be since he is part of a major hospital. He said I nothng to worry about - to go outside, see sunlight, read, run, go out with friends, give to charity, take my 5 mg of prozac and try to think of other thoughts. He believes it will be fine. He said my anxiety led me to call my new doctors (before all my results were back, push him for a reason why HIV test was not back, and asked him if that was bad sign so I put him in an awkward position).

Is not getting Quest Lab's results on Friday (drew blood at Dr. on Monday) a bad sign? Is no news bad news? Did I put my new straight Dr in an awkward position? Is this my anxiety going into overdrive? Maybe I should find a quick 40 minute test today (Saturday)?

I am sending $200 to your foundation on Credit Card now - for good Karma. I will send money every year (I'm a Wall Street Banker so it will vary - tough times)... I won't take you for granted again. For some odd reason I trust your words more than anyone else....and I don't know you. Craig

Answer

Hi Craig,

Welcome back to the forum. Sorry it's under such a "stressful situation!

Your assessment of your HIV-acquisition risk is accurate: extremely low to negligible (not "negligent," by the way! (lol)

Regarding your specific questions about your recent HIV test:

  1. Is not getting Quest Lab's results on Friday (following a Monday blood draw) a bad sign? Nope! There are indeed a variety of reasons the results may be delayed (lab error, clerical error, dropped the vial of blood, staffing issues, equipment issues, etc., etc., etc.).

  2. Is no news bad news? Nope! No news is no news. Period.

  3. Did you put your new straight doctor in an awkward position? Perhaps, but I tend to agree with you that sometimes physicians don't realize the stress involved in HIV testing. That's why we use rapid tests at the Frascino Medical Group. Twenty minutes and you have your answer. Plus, we'll hold your hand during the entire 20-minute eternity while the test develops!

  1. Is your anxiety going into overdrive? Yep! Absofrickinlutely. And it could have been avoided by either using rapid tests or having a doctor more in tune with your issues.

  2. Maybe I should find a rapid test today? Sure. If you're so stressed that you can't sleep, missed work, took Xanax, can't stop crying and are writing to me, then I think a rapid test to immediately quell your fears is appropriate. The result will undoubtedly be negative and you'll be WOO-HOOing within moments!

Thank you for your generous donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). Your one gift will touch many lives, helping turn hopelessness into hope. Hang in there Craig. I'm extremely confident all will turn out well (including you!). Since you live in NYC, why not hook up with a gay MD who might be a better match for your disposition and medical needs?

Be well. Stay well. (Yes, I'm confident you are indeed well.) Drop by anytime Craig. You're always welcome here. I'll await your WOO-HOO news!

Dr. Bob