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Treatment for Newly Diagnosed
Dec 10, 2003

HI, My name is Chris, Im 24 and live in Detroit. I found out that I am positive last month. (November) I havent any insurance and I am concerned with recieving proper up to date medical care. I have been talking in HIV + chat rooms and getting advise, I had someone tell me that since I found out im positive so early, I know I was infected in May. That if I started treatment now and took meds for a whole year that I would most likely not need to take meds ever again. He said this was new cutting edge information. Have you heard anything about this, is there any truth? Also Im not dealing with my new diagnoses very well, I feel alone and I have only told one person who lives out of state. Im having a lot of trouble sleeping at night, I can supress my feelings through out the day but as soon as Im alone in bed it all come flodding back into my mind, Im finding that its getting in the way of regular sleep. For instance I was so tired last night and I could not close my eyes and sleep I ended up satying awake til 6 am and had to be ready to go by 9 30. This is beginning to bother me, I feel like crap because Im so tired. Any advise and or answers you have would be greatly appreciated. Sincerly, Chris

Response from Dr. Young

Chris- Thanks for your post, and sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

Yes, there is a growing set of data that suggests (as you note) that treatment during very early HIV infection may preserve aspects of the immune system. Unfortunately, the window of time when this is most effective appears to be limited to the first three or four months after infection. By my count, you're likely to be past this stage. In general, I don't recommend starting therapy unless you're still acutely infected-- in general, this means that your HIV antibody is not yet fully positive. There is also a "detuned" HIV ELISA test that can sort out if you're still in the very early stages of infection. Past that, delaying starting therapy is what we recommend to our ASYMPTOMATIC patients.

There are a number of centers in Detroit with excellent reputations, the Henry Ford Hospital, for one. Perhaps a call over to their HIV clinic may help sort out some your questions and dilemas.

Feel free to write back to let us know how this turns out. Good luck and thanks for reading. BY



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