Hi, I just joined this site last week. I have a question about something a rheumatologist told me years ago. I've asked several doctors, but they had never heard of it. I'm hoping someone in this community knows. The rheumatologist who diagnosed me with AS and ran the genetic testing for HLA-B27 told me that since I am negative for the HLA-B27 my spine will not fuse. Anyone heard of this? My symptoms began at age 7, I'm 51 today. My last X-rays in 2010 showed that I still have no fusion in my spine. I'd also like to add that the same doctor told me that because I don't have that genetic marker, my AS cannot be genetic. A couple of years later my father was diagnosed with AS. I've taken her input sceptically. I am scared that someday, any day now, I will have noticeable deformities. I don't want to look like the Hunchback of Norte Dame! I prefer to hide my disease! I spend large chunks of time in bed and have brief stints of activity. It occurred to me that what I'm doing can cause the bent back. I sleep in a twisted position or in a fetal position. The more pain I'm in the closer my knees get to my chin. I frequently have crippling pain. How does anyone with AS maintain good posture while in severe pain? And has anyone else heard a correlation between HLA-B27 and fusion?