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Life is Wonderful
Mar 30, 2012

I have wanted to ask this for some time, but didn't want to offend anyone, but I started to wonder if I just haven't experienced the inevitable. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and have been on Atripla since 2008. Knock on wood, I have had NO side effects, I'm undetectable and my counts have climbed continuously. I attended a few HIV groups only to get depressed by the crowd. Most people no longer worked and received some type of aid. I hate to say, but admit that I know 3 people who I believe should be able to work, but do not. Of course that's not for me to judge. My question- I continue to work 40-50 hours a week and work out in the gym 2 hours a night plus additional 6 mile runs each weekend day. I feel wonderful. I don't know anyone else like me!! I'm hoping it's just that people like me don't attend meetings because they feel wonderful also. Am I a rarity? Do you think it's because this was my life BEFORE HIV, so it helps me? or (the scary part, but don't sugarcoat it) Will I deteriorate and I just haven't experienced all the side effects yet? In my mind, I continue to believe that HIV is a chronic condition and I should live a normal healthy life, but I continue to see otherwise. Hard to believe, but I am more scared knowing that I feel so wonderful. I value your response.

Response from Mr. Vergel

You do not tell me your age, which usually shows up in every study as one of the main factors for increased incidence of comorbidities and quality of life issues in HIV+ people who have been living for a long time with the disease and who have been exposed to older and more toxic medications. Are those the people that you see in your support groups?

Many people who started HIV treatment after 2003 are doing much better than those of us who started it years before less toxic drugs were available. Those people will probably not have a lot of the comorbidities we are seeing now in HIV aging cohorts, unless they do not take care of their body weight, exercise, and nutrition (like everyone on this earth should).

Among those who are taking their first HIV combination, You are not a rarity. In fact, I know lots of people that infected with HIV that live like you. But many of us do not. I am one of them.

If support groups bring you down, do not attend them. Instead, attend sports oriented groups. There are several in every city with healthy poz and neg people.

Nelson



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