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Question - HIV - What Does That Stand For?
Feb 26, 2002

Dear Doctor Shernoff,

"I have a confirmed exposure to HIV for almost 30 years and have never had any AIDS related illnesses. Prior to beginning combination antiretroviral therapy my viral loads were almost a million, but have been virtually undetectable for many years. I have literally never lost one day of work due to an AIDS related medical condition in my entire life."

Does this mean you have HIV? How many people with HIV, recently infected, can hope of doing so well, and achieving so much in their lives, and live long with the virus?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Yes I have HIV but have never progressed onto having AIDS. Many people who get infected now have the same potential for long and healthy lives if they receive sophisticated HIV medical care and wait until it is indicated to begin retroviral therapy but then take it in a very adherent way. Yet, not everyone can tolerate or benefit from current antiretroviral medication. So there is no guarantee that if someone becomes infected now that he or she will be able to live a long, productive life. MIchael Shernoff, MSW



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