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10 Year Latentcy before detection - At A Disadvantage
Nov 14, 2000

Dear Doctor: On January 1, 2001, my partner and I will have been together for 10 years. I was/am HIV- and we believed my partner was as well. However, several weeks ago he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with PCP. As I am negative, he was infected before we met. Ours relationship is blissful and this has been quite a shock. Is my partner at a disadvantage due to the amount of time that has progressed between infection and diagnosis? Will the anti-virals be less effective? Does early detection really matter if he has been otherwise the picture of health for the last 10 years? Signed, Afraid For My Soulmate.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Relax -- there is no evidence that people who are diagnosed with HIV at an advanced stage will not respond well to HIV medications. As soon as his PCP is resolved, he should strongly consider starting combination therapy for HIV, with your full encouragement and support. And if you haven't been retested, it would be wise to do so. While some people have not transmitted HIV to their partners after much sexual exposure, others are not that fortunate. Since HIV is a silent disease for so many years, people don't know whether they are still HIV- unless they get tested again, and I urge you to do so. Good luck to both of you!


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