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Update: 20 months HIV+ and feeling better
Sep 10, 2011

I enjoy this website, especially the Q&A section - it's professional and well done. After reading so many questions about living with HIV, including anxiety/depression, I just wanted to share some good news for a change about being diagnosed and living with HIV for the last 20 months. There bottom line is there is hope and people can live a near-normal life despite this illness.

I am on a once-daily dosage of Prezista, Norvir and Truvada and am tolerating it well. I have few, if any, side effects. My VL is undetectable and my CD4 count is 720. It took me over a year to get to these levels.

Before I was diagnosed, I was dealing with severe panic attacks, to the extent I would pass out on airplanes or in other areas. After trying myriad medicines (SSRIs, Buspar, Xanax, etc.) I ended up seeing a hypnotherapist who helped me transform my thought/feeling/behavior pattern. I am happy to say I have not had a panic attack in years. Also, I learned how to recognize and deal with anxiety, to the point that it's so under control I can actually laugh when it arises.

I'm not here to brag, and realize many people react differently to medication. My point is that I wanted to share that becoming HIV+ and dealing with anxiety is not the end of the world, even though people who are dealing with it right now may feel that way. Things do get better.

For the people out there who are worried, maybe this note will offer a glimmer of hope. I know when I was down-and-out dealing with this I thought for sure I would never get better. But I did. And I hope other readers will to.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you so much for writing! You are a powerful example of hope. As a clinical hypnotherapist, I have seen the dramatic changes that can occur with this technique for both trauma and anxiety. Your words remind us that although it may seem impossible at any given moment, things can get better.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

-David



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