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Just diagnosed

May 17, 1999

My little cousin is a 17 year old male and he has just been diagnosed with HIV through a blood drive given at school. He has been retested and it is confirmed that he is HIV positive. What steps do we take to find out how advanced it is or what stage?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

First you need to identify an HIV specialist, and if possible, who also has experience with adolescents. Although the medications and strategies are the same with adults, there will be other issues around stigma, medication adherence, etc, specific for adolescents. An initial evaluation will begin with a good physical exam and lab tests such CD4 count and HIV viral load, plus routine tests such as blood count, liver and kidney function. MH

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