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Thank you but still scared!
Nov 14, 2010

I am 39 years old and just found out recently that i test pov and have immediately seen my doctor to begin whatever i need to start on.. Just overwhelmed and times lost in this whole process. I have had questions concerning the mortality rates the treatments and side effects. I have read so much that i definitely feel overwhelmed but after reading some articles feel positive that i will be fine but still scared. any suggestions or advise in what comes next?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Sorry to hear about your recent HIV diagnosis. "Feeling overwhelmed and at times lost in this whole process . . ." is to be expected, as it takes a period of time to adjust to a new reality as a virally enhanced person. You are doing the correct things by consulting and working with an HIV physician specialist plus learning more about all aspects of HIV disease. I would suggest you stick to reputable information sites, such as TheBody.com and related links. Begin with the chapter "Just Diagnosed" and the proceed from there.

As for antiretroviral drugs and their side effects, this can be a confusing topic. Your HIV specialist physician should be able to help walk you though this by explaining your best treatment options. You can then do some more targeted reading on those particular medications. Side effects and toxicity vary considerably from person to person. However, in general HIV mediations are becoming less toxic, better tolerated and more convenient to take.

Mortality rates is another complex topic, as HIV/AIDS has only been recognized since 1981and we have new and hopefully more effective treatments being discovered year after year. As we learn more about the natural history of HIV itself, the body's immune response to this virus and efficacy of newer novel therapies (integrase inhibitors, CCR5 inhibitors, etc.), the morbidity and mortality expectations change. As an example, when the virus found me in January 1991, the expected survival was 10 years at best. Based on those expectations, I would have been pushing up daisies shortly after the turn of the millennium! Needless to say, that didn't happen. At present, I plan to die of old age (rather than old AIDS!). Care to join me? Let's both be here for the cure, OK?

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob


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