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Just found out
Jun 14, 2006

Hello: I just found out I have HIV+ and I'm upset. I live in NYC and went to an Infectious Disease Doctor at Mount Siani hospital, who said don't worry . My CD4 count is 391 and my viral load is 9361. My HIV RNA PCR, Quant is 3.97. I am 44 years old and have been a fitness freak for the past 23 years. No smoking, drinking, drugs a very clean lifestyle. He said I don't need medication yet but I not sure what to do? He said I'm going to live until I'm old and gray. I'm very scared. Just wanted your thoughts.

Response from Dr. Wohl

I agree with the doc from the top of the holy mountain. You will live to be old and gray. Your CD4 cell count is not all that bad and your viral load is quite low. Were you to live in a place where there was no HIV therapy, you would probably go another 8 to 10 years before experiencing any major problems. As you live in NYC, where HIV treatment is there for you when you need it, you can tack on another 10-15 years on top of that. Don't you think in the next 18 to 25 years we will get even better at controlling HIV? I do.

Whether to start therapy now is debatable. Your low viral load means that the chances of your CD4 cell count heading south any time soon is very low. However, treatment will boost your CD4 cells back to normal levels (>500). I'd wait a few months and check your numbers again before making a decision. You have the luxury of time. Meanwhile keep up with the fitness thing as the greatest risks you face continue to be heart disease and cancers - just like everyone else.

DW



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