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How do I tell my Wife
Aug 31, 2005

I have just been diagnosed two weeks ago. I refused to believe it and went for a second opinion. It was confirmed but I have to ask how I got it. I have been faithful since the day I met my wife 10 years ago and have never used drugs. The doctors both seem to conclude from my history that I may have contracted it while I was overseas. I had unprotected sex a few times. But I have never had any symptoms, still don't and only found out because, at my doctor's request, I had a physical. Help me understand how I got this, how it could be inside me for so long without a sign, and how I tell my wife........please respond as quickly as you can, I'm losing my mind!

Response from Dr. Horwath

The average time between the initial infection and the development of any symptoms is 10 years. Some people have the infection even longer without developing any illness or symptoms. This is because the virus has a very long period of time when it is reproducing, but the immune system is still functioning adequately. People with HIV generally start to get sick when their immune system is starting to fail, or their T cells (CD4 cells) fall below about 250 cells/ml.

If you had unprotected sex while overseas, then that may be the source of the infection. Maybe you can get some professional help from your doctor or a psychologist or HIV counselor to help you work out a way to speak to your wife about this. You certainly need to do so soon.



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