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Care for another
Nov 17, 2004

Doc:

My boyfriend has known he is HIV positive for 3 years. We're in college and he graduates in May, but he has never been to a doctor about his condition and he drinks and smokes constantly, mainly just to cope.

What should he be doing, and what can I do to help?

Response from Dr. Horwath

First, drinking and smoking both have adverse health consequences. Maybe you can help him to get into a treatment program to stop.

Second, he should consult a physician with some experience treating HIV infection. He needs to be evaluated to determine whether he would benefit from antiretroviral treatment, and he needs to be monitored. Waiting too long to start treatment can result in a worse outcome. He needs some education about HIV infection, so that he can better understand why medical care helps.

Finally, he might be suffering from denial, having difficulty facing the emotional reality that he has HIV infection. Talk to him, and encourage him seek counseling to get past that.



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