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I am getting angry very fast & I get a lot of allergies
Jun 16, 2011

Hi Dr. David,

I was detected as HIV positive in April 2010. I have noticed that for last few months I am getting angry very fast. Also, I notice that I am getting too many allergies. Are these related to HIV?

I am in India and am going to be 44 years old. I have a family and I still have a decent job (that I don't want to lose). My parents are still alive and stay alone in a village in India, about 2000Km from my place. I am really frightened of stigma and thus, only my wife is aware of my status. My last CD4 count (in Feb) was around 450 - this is down from 480 in April 2010. But my viral load has increased from 1978 in April 2010 to about 250K now. Last time I saw the doctors here, they suggested that I come back again in Aug for tests and start meds when my CD4 count is below 350. I don't exercise since my job is stressful and takes long hours. At times I feel that ending life is a better option, but I am still very frightened to die. I wonder why I am still hopeful for positive future, when I know that it can never happen.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for your question. First, regarding allergies. Persons living with HIV do tend to develop more drug sensitivities. You don't mention what type of allergies you are experiencing, but you should keep your doctor informed. Strong feelings, including anger, are typical after receiving news that one is HIV positive. All negative feelings intensify when they are not expressed. I understand the significance of stigma, but I would encourage you to develop a support system beyond your wife where you can safely express all of your feelings. Perhaps your doctor could recommend a group in your area. Developing such a support system, along with physical exercise, will go a long way toward relieving the anger. If it remains a problem seek professional guidance to learn about other tools that can help alleviate it. Finally, I encourage you to focus on a positive future. HIV can be managed as a chronic illness. Many HIV positive people around the world live very positive and rewarding lives.

-David



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