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HIV, Epstein-Barr and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mar 1, 2000

In 1997, I went to my doctor an was diagnosed with Mono, with a past infection evident in Epstein-Barr. Then, two weeks later I was diagnosed with HIV+. I have been under the care of a doctor and have been faithful for three years on antivirals such that my VL is undetectable, and CD4 cells are in the 500 range. My problem is that I do have chronic fatigue, based on the symptoms I have researched and unable to work, based on the fatigue, confusion, and general lack of stamina. In applying to SSDI, they say I am healthy, because of my blood stats relating to HIV. What is the correlation of Epstein-Barr to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

I know of no correlation between the two. EBV is a very common viral illness; many many people have had it. There is great debate about "chronic fatigue" and whether or not it is related to EBV infection. Many experts do not believe that there is strong enough evidence for the link to be convincing. Many of the side effects of HIV medicines will produce similar symptoms attributed to chronic fatigue. I think you're going to have a tough time getting SSI to believe you're disabled on the basis of chronic fatigue.

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