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Was my counselor off base?
Jul 15, 2012

I've been seeing a one-on-one counselor at the local AIDS organization. During our last session, I mentioned my AIDS diagnosis and he said "why do you think you have AIDS" I told him I was diagnosed in 2001 with PCP in both lungs plus a plethora of other HIV related problems. "Yes, but why do you say you still have AIDS? You don't have PCP now and what are your t-cells?" I told him in the mid 400's but also, I was becoming angry and asked him what business was it of his. He gave me a really flippant answer and I got up and just left.

I've been very upset since this happened. Did he have some reason to ask a question like that? Did the CDC change the diagnosis criteria? Should he be reported to his supervisor? Thanks!

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. Here is a quote from HIV Insite from UCSF:

"Once a person has been diagnosed with AIDS, she or he is always considered to have AIDS, even if that person's CD4 count goes up again and/or they recover from the disease that defined their AIDS diagnosis."

I'm not sure why your counselor asked those questions but your reaction is understandable. Every agency has policies about client rights and responsibilities. You have a right to courteous and professional interactions. In this case, I think you should speak with a supervisor about the situation.

-David



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