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Coping with being HIV+
Jan 29, 2004

Dear Dr. Horwath,

I am a 40 year old HIV+ gay man living in Vienna (Austria). I have been diagnosted HIV+ in Dec. 2001. My VL has been undetectable and my CD4 count is always between 1150 and 1350. I have started treatment (sustiva and combivir)directly upon diagnoses, because I am a Cistic Fibrosis patient (delta F580) and have latent pseudomonas infection in my lungs(which is however easily treated with ABs eg.ciproxin). I live a normal (healty) life, have a good job, do sport, have many friends, have no side effects of the treatment, etc. etc. However, I have never, except with my doctor, discussed my fear being HIV+ and what is going to happen in the future. How long do I have to live, what about my sex life, should I be open for having a lover. I am afraid to go to e.g. gay discussions groups: the gay community in Vienna is very small, everybody knows everybody, and the word will go around quickly that I am HIV+. I do not like the idea of getting the label being HIV+ (only). Could you please help me and advise me what to do. Thank you very much!

Response from Dr. Horwath

You have had a very good response to anti-retroviral treatment. With an undetectable viral load and CD4 count of 1150-1350, your prognosis is quite good. We don't have a reliable way to predict life expectancy.

You should be able to enjoy sex with the use of barrier protection, such as condoms. As for finding people to talk to, it would be helpful if you could find some trusted friends with whom you could share your thoughts and feelings. Your reluctance to share your status is understandable, but finding a way to talk would help you to break out of your isolation. Good luck.



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