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Worried about my future
Dec 21, 2011

I was recently infected and diagnosed. I am planning to check my cd count soon and to start Atripla if it is anything below 550. I heard there is a better chance to live longer if patient starts ART with a higher cd count. Am I going to die soon doctor? I am becoming mad day by day. I want to live. Can I doc? Of course I will be killed by HIV sooner or later one day, either directly by the virus or indirectly due to drug toxicity. Even Dr Bob could not respond to modern therapies and he left us. I am sorry for Dr Bob, but his death shocked me with extreme fear. If he can't fight, what about people like us? So, the question is: how long can I live if I am detected at an early stage? Thank you, doctor.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing. I too was shocked by Dr. Bob's death and the passing of other friends this past year from HIV. It's true that people are still dying from this virus and that fact periodically shakes me out of my comfort zone. There are so many complex medical variables that it is impossible to predict with certainty any one of our fates, but the fact remains that people who are newly-diagnosed can live a very long and full life.

I think it's important to convert some of the energy you are spending worrying into action from which you can benefit. It is important to consult with your physician about your lab values and your physical status to truly understand your medical position. When you begin medications it's important to take them consistently and as directed. It's also really important to understand the impact of stress and anxiety on the immune system. I would recommend finding a support group, speaking with peers, and even looking for a psychotherapist familiar with HIV who can help you with these normal feelings.

I'd also recommend spending some time reading through the information on TheBody's "Just Diagnosed Resource Center.." You'll find a lot of useful information, tips, and suggestions to get you through this process.

Be well,

-David



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