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I dont know what to do
Feb 15, 1999

Hello Dr Shernoff. The reason why I am writing this to you its because I've been feeling so down. Sometimes I do feel that I'm depressed. The reason for all this sadness is because of the possiblity of me having HIV. I've might have been exposed to the virus and now I think I'm suffering from a few symptoms. I dont know my HIV status yet, but I am pretty sure that I am. I've been thinking so much for the longest time. I think about my life, my family, my friends and other things. I pray whenever I can, just to make myself feel better. But I do want to be better, but I dont know how. I feel like I cant get out of this rut. I dont know what to do, doctor. I feel like the world is over...I feel like my life is over. How can I feel better? I really do wish I have the answer for that, otherwise I wouldnt be sad now. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

If you believe that you are infected than just worrying about it will not help you. You must call a doctor who is an expert in HIV and ask him or her to test you and examine you. Whether or not it turns out that you have been infected than you should ask the doctor for a referral to a mental health professional and make an appointment to get professional help that may or may not include anti-depressant medications.

You certainly sound depressed and are reporting symptoms of depression. These may or may not lessen if you do not get help. But if you do not get help now and feel better, then they will most likely return. This is why I urge you to first have a medical consultation in order to determine what state your physical health is in, and then a mental health consultation. If you are infected, knowledge is power and you will be able to make decisions that will help you regain a sense of control in your life.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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