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Non-Common Side Affects
Jun 25, 2001

I have a friend, who in the last year has been sick. He has been in the hospital for infections regading his blood and urine as well as having double pneumonia. Just a few weeks ago... he was put back in the hospital for Renal Failure supposedly due to suffering from Diabetes that he never knew he as suffering from. Now, let me point this out... my friend is confirmed to be HIV positive. He has lost an extreme amount of weight as well as the use of his legs and he has a few open sores on his body. He is now getting dialysis for his kidney condition but he is still suffering from unexplainable seizures... he even went code blue during one of them. My questions are is this a common side affect of HIV/AIDS? Also, in your professional opinion...he is suffering from just HIV or does he now have full blown AIDS? Lastly, based on what information I have given and should this be AIDS, how long does my friend have? One last question, his mother has been asking people to help care for him because of his seizure he must be watched 24 hours a day... should she be honest with people and inform them that he is HIV positive or are they even at risk?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

HIV+ people can also get the whole range of infections and problems that HIV- people get. Blood and urine infections due to bacteria are not HIV-specific. Similarly, diabetes is probably not related to HIV, even indirectly, unless your friend was exposed to a long course of the drug pentamidine, which is used to treat Pneumocystis pneumonia. And kidney failure can have many many causes, only one of which is associated with HIV. Ditto for seizures. So it is not at all clear from what you've told me that any of your friend's current problems have anything necessarily due to HIV, and none of the problems you've mentioned meet the criteria for a diagnosis of AIDS. Watching someone around the clock is not necessarily the optimal way to help someone with seizures. The correct dose of seizure medicine is judged by checking a blood tests for the amount of the drug in the patient's blood. But even if you and others were to keep your friwend company, you are not at risk for getting HIV by being in the same room with him, so I don't think his mother owes an explanation to anybody.

recently infected-- risks for toxo & salmonellosis?
Discontinuing prophylactic for PCP

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