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Apr 11, 2002

Hello, I want to have a garden and need to know if there is anything that I can catch from the soil directly or from the food I grow. Especially if the soil contains any kind of animal/bird droppings. My life is getting back to normal as possible being HIV+ for 7 years now. With having to take fewer meds (down from 27 pills aday to just 2 makes life so much eaiser).

Also, can I catch something from mowing yards that contain dog ##? Because when you run over dry ## it goes airborne. My tcells are 1100 up from 287. Undect viral load. Never had anything other then shingles from HIV.

Also my partner has been sick several times with oppurtunistic infections. Can he be at risk from the garden?

We also have 6 small dogs 4 inside and 2 outside. Any risk from them as well? Sorry for all the questions. But everyone keeps telling us to get back to a normal life. Thanks From San Antonio Texas

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

Getting back to normal activity and a normal life is the a top goal in living with HIV infection and congratulations at looking toward doing just that! It is a good idea to take some precautions in your gardening and tending pets. There are many soil-borne organisms, some of which could cause a problem. Mycobacterium, toxoplasmosis, and other dirt and ##-dwelling organisms can cause infections that may even remain fairly dormant while your tcells are high and some of these things can come out to haunt you later if your tcells drop.

It is worthwhile taking precautions with your pets and gardening activities. The CDC puts out a very nice brochure on pets for people infected with HIV. You can find it at:

For gardening, there are at least a couple of things you can do...

Acting as though you are defending yourself against someone else's flu, use hand and foot coverings and wash your hands carefully in between. Don't put your gloved hands (or even ungloved hands) anywhere near your face and wash the gloves in bleach-containing water when you finish for the day. You can also get those nose and mouth-covering masks. If someone asks, tell them it helps to keep allergies under control.

You may also want to check with your doctor and nurse for additional thoughts and precautions to consider in your case. Take a look at the website for additional information. Items like the pdf file from the Home and Garden inforamtion center (link below) can also help.

Home & Garden Info Service

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