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Could It Be True?
Jun 20, 2007

Dr. Wohl: Five years ago, I was dx. with HIV. I immediately found your website and started asking you questions. I have not ever found a better website their this one. It has now been 5 years since my diagnos. My life has changed dramatically, there is never a day that goes by that I'm not reminded of my status. Being a nurse, will do that to you. However, recently I read in an Infectious Disease book that people who have tested postive with HIV over and over, for years, may one day test negative. That for some unexplained reason, they test positive, the test were wrong. My situation, I've always thought was different. I can never recall any exposures, no unprotected sex, no needlesticks, etc.., my husband and child are negative. My CD4, has always been greater than 800-1000, my VL has always been undectable. I've never been sick, never been on meds. I'm in a Nationally known Research Program with an University of Medicine and Research, my HIV Research doctor, has been baffled, telling me the my disease isn't duplicating itself. THat the amount of HIV cells are not growing. That for every one million cells, I have like 1 HIV cell. Where as others may have hundred of thousands of HIV cells. I'm not quite sure if I'm wording all this right, but I'm trying to do the best I can remember.

So could it be possible? Possible that after 5 years, of living a life of never being able to allow myself to have another child because I won't risk the possible transmission, never be able to be a "typical mom", and take spit on a napkin and wipe my child's dirty face (as gross as that sounds). Never be able to tell another living soul, except my husband, for the fear of everyone treating me different, that this could be true? I've never asked for much since being HIV+, I've only asked GOD, to allow me to "live a long, happy, healthy life with my family" and so far I've been granted that. Is there just that slim possibility that I could be that 1% that all the test for whatever reason are wrong, or I'm just that 1% that I'm the lucky HIV person who will be a long term non-progressor, and hopefully die of old age at 80?

Response from Dr. Wohl

It sounds like you have had sophisticated testing done with sensitive assays for HIV and these have detected the virus - albeit at low levels. If your HIV antibody tests (ELISA and Western blot) are strongly positive and you have HIV detected in your cells or blood, that would convince me you are a so called long term non-progressor.

I would encourage you to live your life as a typical mom. There is no reason to fear transmission of HIV to your child. Women with higher viral loads kiss and lick their children without ever passing on HIV. Your fear of the stigmatization seems to have become a tremendous burden for you. If you have not already done so, I gentlely suggest you work with a counselor or therapist to come to terms with your situation. Doing so will help make sure that you are actually at peace during the long life you can expect.

DW



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