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Dr.Bob i need you on this one
Jul 9, 2003

Doctor Bob,

I finally had the courage to go out and to get tested. My results come back in tommorow. If i am posative am i at risk for cancers and oi's since my exposure was almost 5 years ago? Have I waited too long and is my immune system uncapable of recovering?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Congratulations on getting tested! Are you at risk for cancers and opportunistic infections, because your exposure was 5 years ago? No, not necessarily. That risk depends on how intact your immune system is. We call them "opportunistic" infections and cancers, because they take the "opportunity" of our immune systems being depressed or deficient to appear and cause trouble. When our immune systems are healthy, these types of problems are quite easily and very effectively eliminated by a variety of immune mechanisms. HIV infection over time can wear down our immune systems, leaving us more vulnerable. We monitor this with a test called a CD4 (or T-helper) cell count. If and when your CD4 count falls below 200, your risk for these opportunistic-type problems increases.

The natural history time course for HIV to cause problems is usually about 10 years, although there can be considerable variability due to many factors. All of this information is probably premature for you. First, find out if youre HIV-positive. The odds would be that youre not. Next, if you are positive, get a viral load and T-cell count, as well as an evaluation by an HIV/AIDS specialist. If you still have questions after that, well be here! Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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