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Friend in Southern Africa

Dec 30, 2004


My question concerns a good friend of mine who has been living with hiv for about three years. Her CD4 count showed around 210 during her last doctors visit six months ago. I am living in southern africa and I am an American. I am very educated about HIV mainly due to this website. However, I am not very educated on counseling someone with HIV. I always try to encourage her to get check-ups and to consider medication as soon as she is ready. I recently suggested to her that she take a PCP prophylaxis but she just told me to drop everything. Should I step back a bit and let her handle it the way she needs to or should I continue to push her to seek treatment? She is only 19 and I feel that she could use some guidance from someone who has access to resources such as this one. I just don't want her to end up with a serious opportunistic infection. Can you advise me as to how involved I should become. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

Response from Dr. Pierone

It is hard to know why she told you to drop everything. Some people choose not to discuss their health issues with friends, it depends on many factors. Also, some persons living with HIV infection have some degree of denial or compartmentalization of the illness and avoid dealing with it. Depending on how close the friendship is, you may continue to offer support, but be sensitive to her level of comfort level with your involvement. Thanks for posting.

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