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Just Diagnosed
Mar 19, 2003

I was just diagnosed with Aids on Thanksgiving of 2002. I am terrified and don't know what to do or where or how to begin. I live in Michigan, and I am seeing the director of hiv at the University of Michigan. He is going to be my new doctor. I also have Hepatitis C. I am a smoker, I exercise little, if any at all, but I don't do drugs or drink. I will be 44 years old on February 20, 2003. I don't want to die this soon. Please tell me any and all things I can do, on my own and with the doctor, to keep my health up. I don't have many, if any, symptoms at all right now. When I was first diagnosed, my cd count was 38. I was told anything below 200 was considered full-blown aids. I don't know what it is now, but am going to be getting blood tests next week. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Also, I would like to know if you know of any chat rooms on the internet where I can make friends and discuss this disease with peope with the same thing. Thank you so very much. Sue

Response from Dr. Wohl

Hi Sue-

Many of those reading this know what you are going through right now. The good news is that HIV therapy has advanced tremendously over the past several years. People diagnosed now and who live in areas where HIV therapies are available commonly experience increases in their CD4 cell counts and control of their virus. Infections that used to plague persons with AIDS are becoming rare and life expectancy is always increasing.

What can you do? Well you are doing most of what you need to. You are seeing an HIV expert, you are or will be taking HIV medications and drugs to ward off infection, and you are seeking information. I'd also recommend you make certain you take all the medications you are prescribed religiously and not miss any doses. Don't run out of your medications. If you experience a side effect, call you doctor's office at once.

Further, work on stopping smoking, avoid excess alcohol drinking and absolutely no cocaine of any sort. Starting to take care of your general health with some exercise, a healthy diet, and getting pap smears and breast exams will also help tremendously.

You can live with this virus. How long, no one can say. The goal is to keep adding on more and more days of quality living until, maybe the day we see a cure.

I don't know of a good chat room but I am certain somebody will write in with some suggestions. DW

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