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10 or more years ago
May 17, 2002

Dr. Young,

I've been reading your responses to others. You are so kind and informative. My question involves length of infection time. I've never been tested but if I was exposed it would have been over 10 years ago. I'm a female with a purplish flat blotch on my skin (suspect KS). If I've been infected for such a long time, would HAART still be a viable option for me? I haven't had as much as a cold in over a year but all the reading I've done indicates it is time to test (never thought I had a reason to before). If I'm positive, do I still have hope for a future? Thanks, doctor for any wisdom you can impart.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your kind words.

I know that you've suspected my answer, but the best way to answer your question is to get tested for HIV-- this would allow you put your mind at ease (if negative) and if (God forbid) you test positive, put you on the most rapid track to getting help and preserving the function of your immune system. Moreover, knowing your status will allow you to protect your health and the health of others around you (i.e, safe sex, safe drug use, etc).

Yes, HAART therapy can be very, very effective for persons with AIDS or advanced, long-term HIV infection. The future for those who start therapy is generally very good, too, provided that therapy is not started with very advanced disease (i.e., too late). I have a number of patients who would have died months after their diagnosis if made in the pre-HAART era, who are now back to work, feel great and other than taking medications and seeing their doctor (me) periodically, are for all intents, healthy.

Good luck and stay in touch, BY



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