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AIDS, Depression, & Stress
May 3, 2005

My Doctor diagnosised me with AIDS in Fall of 2002. This was the first that I knew of my condition even though he feels that I have been infected for 15-20 years. Since that time I have lowered my VL to an all time low of 70 (It since has increased to +700) I have raised my CD4 from about 32 to 280. I have been seeing both a Therapist and a Phyciatrist since January of 2003. I take 300mg of Effexor XR along with 10mg of Wellbutrin daily.

My question is hard to put into words without sounding totally idiotic, but just what is the point? I am a male 48+ years old and don't expect to live to see retirement. I don't take joy in either my work or home life, I have nothing on the horizon to look forward to but loss. Loss of parents, siblings, diminishing personal health, constant medications that just make me unable to die naturally, or by my own hand. No sex drive to speak of, even if I wanted to pursue a new relationship it presents all sorts of new stress into a life that I feel is overflowing with it. My shrink and ID MD are only concerned with the results of their prescibed medications. My therapist is just a friend that I talk openly to, but doesn't seem to have any suggestions for action on my part. So, tell me what is the point of living any longer when all that is certain is that everything will get worse?

I am not suicidal, but why get out of bed? Why work to pay the bills? Why clean the house? Why bathe, or wash clothes? Why attend events and gatherings and act as if nothing were wrong?

Response from Dr. Horwath

You are clearly suffering from depression, with the feelings that you have described. When you say that you have nothing on the horizon to look forward to but loss, this is an expression of despair and hopelessness inidcative of depression. You need to speak frankly with your psychiatrist about how you feel, and make whatever changes you need to in your treatment to help you with the depression.

Many people with AIDS lead hopeful and productive lives for many years. The feeling that life holds nothing for you is not a natural outcome of having AIDS; it is a symptom of another problem - depression.



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