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Concerned Family Member
Nov 3, 2004

I have a brother that just found out that he has AIDS. He is VERY DEPRESSED. He has his cocktails and is afraid of taking them.. He says he is very tired, mentally and physically. His T4 count is 37 and his viral "count" is almost 400 or 4000????? I don't know what to do. It is like he is already giving up. I am the only family member his has told. I am his sister. HELP

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Confronting an HIV diagnosis is never easy. Learning not only that you are HIV positive, but also that you have full-blown AIDS and must begin taking medications, can be devastating and overwhelming. Perhaps you could contact your brother's HIV specialist and inform him of what's happening. It might also be helpful to actually go with him to his next visit if this is geographically possible. Ultimately, he will need to broaden his support network. Support groups, counseling for depression and other interventions might also be helpful. Your brother's CD4 count is severely depressed. There is no doubt he needs to protect himself from opportunistic infections and take antiviral medications to decrease his viral load and hopefully allow for immune reconstitution, i.e. increased CD4 count. Your brother is lucky to have a concerned compassionate sister to help him through this difficult period in his life. Tell him about this site. Hopefully he'll find the information here (and on the related links) encouraging as well as informative. It's important to help your brother realize that even though starting an HIV medication regimen is frightening, the results are often nothing short of miraculous.

Please give your brother a hug from me and let him know I've been positive since 1991. He needs to focus on living with AIDS, putting the emphasis on "living."

Dr. Bob


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