Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

Dr.HHH, I need your advice.

Good morning Dr.HHH, I'll be as quick as possible. I've led a pretty promiscuous lifestyle which stopped about 5 years ago. Since then, I've been a full time college student and been in a long term monogamous relationship. I'm currently 23 and about to lose my health insurance - therefore, I could use some assistance. I've been testing only at centers that allow anonymous testing confidentiality due to the fact of losing my insurance at my age. Anyhow, I am a heterosexual male, NON injection drug user (actually, never touched drugs in my life - any type) living in the US, I've used protection 95% of the time, the 5% was attributed during my high school years where unfortunately, sexual education was lacking it's effectiveness - if you will. Anyhow, I can't remember in the past if I've ever been tested but for the sake of sanity, I was tested in 2007 (4 years after my last possible exposure) which was negative (Oraquick Oral Advance OMT Swab). I doubted the results and continued back for another test in early 2008 - same test, same results. I still couldn't put it past me - I re-tested in 2008 again using a Uni-Gold HIV-1 blood test (according to the mfg it has 100% sensitivity) - negative. I continue to have loose stools, dry skin, weird bumps and am itchy all over for the most part for the last year. My current physician advises me to take a full ELISA with WB confirmation (traditional method through a lab) however this is not an anonymous type test. I don't know what to do Dr. Your advice is greatly appreciate, don't worry, after reading this forum for some time, I won't pester you with the 'what if', 'but', 'are you sure' scenario.
4 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Relax.  Forget HIV.  Your symptoms have to be due to something else; the test results already done prove absolutely you don't have it.  Once the 3 month window is past, every HIV infected person has positive test results the rest of his or her life.  My bet is that your doctor recommended expanded testing not because s/he suspects you might actually be infected, but as a way to help convince you that you don't have it.

If you get retested, it does not need to be anonymous.  In the US and most industrialized countries, having a negative HIV test never results in discrimination and does not affect health insurance eligibility; negative results have not had that risk for 15+ years.  (Half the US population has been tested for HIV.  Do you think all those people are at risk for adverse social effects?)  And for someone with a positive result, it is not possible to get health care for the HIV infection and remain anonymous.  So anonymous testing rarely makes sense these days.

Since you don't need testing anyway, that last paragraph really is intended for other readers, though -- not you.  Far more important for your health is to just put HIV out of your mind and move on.  If you are unable to do so, please return to your provider and ask about the possible need for professional evaluation of your mental health and possible counseling.  It is not normal to be unconvinced by the level of proof you have had that you don't have HIV, and it suggests an emotional disorder, perhaps related to guilt about your past sexual lifestyle.  I suggest this out of compassion, not criticism.

Let's not have any ondoing discussion.  It is unlikely you could provide any information that could possibly change my opinion or advice.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
Helpful - 1
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The additional information does not change anything, and I already responded to the question about testing beyond the window period.  Indeed, the ELISAs are "for the most part foolproof", which includes the tests you already have had.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
Sorry, I wanted to include this in the first question:

My last question pertains to antibody production. The current window period is 3 - 6 months, but what about if you test outside? I've seen a few posts by other users asking the same question with little results. I haven't seen a study done pertaining to the amount of antibodies in ones blood throughout the course of infection without being on meds. I'd like to take the Dr's advice and go ahead and get the ELISA however, I want to know if I can at least rely a little on these rapid tests. Also, are they for the most part foolproof?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thank you for your time and kind comments Dr.Handsfield. They've definitely made a significant impact - I'm feeling much better! Have a great afternoon!

One last comment to everyone: Sexual education in this country (and many others) is lacking by far. Sometimes, it's in your best interest to educate yourself. Don't put yourself in a similar predicament. Take the time to read the facts and ALWAYS, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use protection.
Helpful - 0

You are reading content posted in the HIV - Prevention Forum

Popular Resources
Condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV and STDs.
PrEP is used by people with high risk to prevent HIV infection.
Can I get HIV from surfaces, like toilet seats?
Can you get HIV from casual contact, like hugging?
Frequency of HIV testing depends on your risk.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may help prevent HIV infection.