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My friend has been diagnosed

Dec 21, 2003

My friend (14 yrs) was recently diagnosed with HIV- his father sexually assualted (raped) him and passed the disease on.(he is seeing a therapist)

How many pills will my friend be taking? I've heard a lot of different answers but I was wondering if because of his age he'll be recieving a certain limit. What are the side effects?

His doctor said his healthy anitbody count (T-cells, yes?) was high- how long (ballpark) will my friend live if he takes his pills and remains healthy? Ten years? Twenty years?

Will the pills or the infection affect how he developes physically (through the rest of puberty)- his voice has pretty much changed completely but beyond that I'm not sure how much more he'll develope.

I'm sorry if I'm asking on the wrong forum or something but I wasn't sure which one applies to me.


Response from Dr. Pierone

Sorry to hear about your friend and his diagnosis with HIV infection. It is very difficult to predict decades into the future regarding health status and ultimate longevity. With these limitations in mind, my belief is that lifespan can be near normal for those with access to HIV medications. If your friend's CD4 cells (T cells) are good (above 350 or so) treatment will likely be deferred at this time. When treatment is begun, the typical initial regimen now contains 4 or 5 pills daily. In a few years it may be just one or two pills a day. Side effects are possible, but we strive to match the antiretroviral cocktail with the individual to mitigate toxicity. Many people on therapy don't experience any discernable side effects. His physical development should be normal.

You mentioned that he is receiving counseling for his sexual abuse. The psychological component of his medical care is critical and should be ongoing. One of the most emotionally damaging acts that a person can experience is childhood sexual abuse. Proper attention and care for this trauma can not be overstated. Take care and let us know how things go. GP

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