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conflicted
May 24, 2006

Zdorovo moi Zolotoi,

Sorry about this, but Im conflicted. I had coffee with a friend recently, and he was talking about hiv (hes not positive, but also doesnt know that I am he brought it up because hes an ex-junkie. Anyway, he said hes done some research (not quite sure what this means), and he was saying that if hed contracted the virus (he didnt), he wouldnt touch the meds. He was quite knowledgeable about the side effects and regimens, otherwise Id have ignored him. His point was basically that life becomes more complicated and difficult when meds might not even help that youd feel sicker than you would without them, so surely its better to have a shorter, more fulfilled life.

I know, I probably shouldnt have listened to him, but I cant help wondering, does he have a point? I know that this is probably not the case for the vast majority of people, but for me personally, my health seems just so complicated. And although I really do believe my doc does his best, as you know, lifes not exactly a picnic, and, well, hed never suggest the alternative would he? I just cant help but wonder if I chucked meds and concentrated on the parts of my life that arent hiv (it does kinda seem like thats all there is right now), would it be better? Yes, I know thats a tough (and possibly idiotic) question, but, well, I cant get it out of my head. I dont wanna sound ungrateful I really am thankful that I have access to medical care, especially when so many dont, but its just difficult to know what to think when I dont seem to get better!

poka Solnyshko moyo

Penny

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Penny,

I'm pressed for time at the moment, so I'll have to make this quick.

I find it somewhat ironic that an ex-junkie is giving advice about the potential evils of prescription drugs! I'm sure he means well, but you are much too smart and intuitive to believe this nonsense. The decreased in morbidity and mortality since the introduction of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) in mid-1996 has been, in a word, miraculous. I can assure you that without those drugs I would not be here answering your question. Need I say more?

What would happen if you chucked your meds? Your HIV viral load would skyrocket, your CD4 count would fall and you would become even more susceptible to additional opportunistic illnesses. We know this for a fact. Over 65,000,000 have been infected with HIV over the past 25 years. Twenty-five million have died. We know how this virus works and what it takes to slow it down. The medications are potent and not always easy to tolerate. The alternative is far worse. The choice is yours.

Dr. Bob


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