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this is too overwhelming
Mar 9, 2004

I am infected with a very aggressive strain that has already caused non-hodgkin's lymphoma in one other person I am linked to with this strain. This person was diagnosed with stage III NHL after only 2 years since infection with HIV. I am having a very difficult time dealing with the reality of this, because I have many of the same symptoms indicative of NHL despite my low viral levels. I feel like I'm just waiting to get the lump and biopsy and then the diagnosis of NHL. What the hell is going on?? This person had no family history of cancer nor did they have any health risk factors for getting it - only HIV infection. So the doctors are all assuming it is just a very aggressive strain. My body has lost a lot of lean mass and I have fevers. But they have not found any evidence of lymphoma. Oh god, this is making me nauseous. What can I do?

Response from Dr. Horwath

Various strains of HIV may share some features in common, but the virus affects each individual person in different ways. This strain of virus will not necessarily lead to NHL in you because it was associated with NHL in your friend. The cause of non-Hodgkins lymphoma is not known, and there are certainly factors related to the individual peerson, and not only to the virus, which cause NHL. Since no evidence of lymphoma has been found, you should go on with your life as best you can. The only special measure you need to take is to get regular medical follow-up.



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