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Not a death sentence?
Jun 10, 2006

BY, I think anyone without HIV would have a hard time understanding the amount of mental positivity it takes to stay hopeful living with this disease. I try to be as realistic as I can without losing hope and there is one thing that I keep coming across that confuses me. Time and time again we read "HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence". How can that be a correct statement when no one can seem to give us any certainty past two decades maximum? (If we're lucky??!?!) One may think "20 years - thats a long time", but for us, we are still being told we will die earlier than we expected. Why do people not write, this is not an "immediate" death sentence? It has been when I have read "HIV?AIDS is not a death sentence" time and time again, that gave me unrealistic hope that I'll be sitting around in a rocking chair on my porch at 80 (I'm now 30) with my life partner because all I have is a disease like diabetes that just needs management and taking care of myself?

Thankyou BY. P.S. You are fantastic, thankyou for all that you do)

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post and comments.

I hope that I don't give the impression that I know everything that it means to have HIV. I can't, because I don't have HIV.

I also tend (or try hard) not to use the phrase "death sentence" when referring to HIV+ person's prognosis-- words can be imprecise, and when imprecise subject to individual interpretation; know that HIV is not something to be taken lightly, nor is diabetes.

Any disease state is a deviation from "health" and can be a serious cause of both physical and emotional trauma.

Now, that polemic aside, even untreated HIV isn't an immediate "death sentence", to use your syntax. But, untreated HIV will kill the vast majority of those who don't have access to medications and the ability to adhere to prescribed treatments.

Treated HIV disease offer hope, real hope, for a long, healthy and as best I can forcast, normal life. Not everyone achieves this, no more than not having HIV guarantees either happiness or health. That's not unrealistic, just a prediction that's so far been realized by many HIV+ persons, including hundreds of HIV+ individual that I've been fortunate enough to care for in our small clinic in our small city.

Thanks for reading. BY



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