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Just Diagnosed
May 27, 2010

Hi Nelson, first i want to thank you for been helping us for a long time. I was diagnosed this past march, my first data is VL 1.016 copies/ml and CD4 430. My doctor told me i have a low viral load and my CD4 are stable so i dont need to start treatment rigth now. Meanwhile he told me that i should have a good nutrition adding a vitamin + minerals + antioxidants complement. What do you sugest me? I checked a GNC product called Cell Protector. I also checked on internet the benefits of selenium and zinc stopping HIV progress and lately the benefits of banana. Well, what do you sugest me? Thanks for your answer and i send you a big hug from Caracas, Venezuela

Response from Mr. Vergel

Hello Fellow Venezuelan!

I am sorry that you are just finding out about your HIV status. I am glad you are reaching out this early!

Placebo controlled studies in people not taking HIV meds have shown that a simple multivitamin with 100 % of the RDA can make a huge difference in survival and disease progression. Deficiencies in selenium, zinc, B-12, Vitamin D, and others have been found.

I do not know much about GNC's products. Just take a good multivitamin that has 200 micrograms of selenium, all B vitamins at 50 mg each, zinc at 20-50 mg (with 3 mg of copper), and take a separate supplement of 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D. Along with exercise, eating lean proteins plus fruits/vegetables, and stress management/rest, a multivitamin should suffice for those who are still healthy.

Keep an eye on your CD4 cells and viral load every 3 months. Don't be afraid of HIV medications if and when you need them.

Also, Venezuelans tend to eat a lot of arepas (flat bread heavy in corn starch), fried foods, and few vegetables. So, even if tasty, be careful with our own food :)

Let us know how you are by touching base once in a while. I hope things in Caracas are OK. I have heard that there are shortages of HIV medications with Chavez' regimen and that health care is not the best. Also, Venezuela is one of the few countries in South America not part of the global AIDS Clinical Trials Group, which limits the access of patients to new therapies. I also hope that homophobia and HIV stigma have decreased.

Good luck and keep us abreast.

Nelson



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