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Rapid Progressor
Jun 14, 2011

Dear Doc Please help, I unfortunately got infected around the 4th of March, had worse flu towards the end of March for 2 weeks. I tested positive last week June 09th. My worry is that my CD4 came back 138 and my viral load is 283000 and everyone says I am a rapid progressor and will die sooner. I am still waiting for my application to attain medication. What ARV should doctor put me on? I am in South Africa. Until then what can I do please? People are starting to comment about my weight loss, but I was on a weight loss programme since January so I am not sure what is happening. Is this really a new infection or was I infected prior to March, or am I just that unlucky 2% that progress faster. How long will I live please God help me I have two little girls. I feel okay though, no flu, not tired, just some vaginal itchiness. I am worried sick and crying my lungs out every night. Please help.

Response from Mr. Vergel

You will be OK and I am glad you have already applied to start medications. Just make sure that you are taking Bactrim to prevent PCP pneumonia, eat well, take your medications on time, and try not to worry too much about death. There are different guidelines in different countries for first line combination therapy. Your doctor will know which combination that is paid by your health care system is right for you.

You did not mention if you have diarrhea, so I will assume you do not. I would try to eat calorie dense foods like nuts, eggs, cheese, beans and rice, and any other regional foods that have high calories. Your weight will be back to normal after a few weeks on treatment if you eat well and do not have any problems with your gut.

Just because you think you are a fat progressor, it does not mean that you will not respond to HIV therapy as well as most. There is no way to predict treatment response at all. I have seen people start with 50 CD4 cells and years later have 800 cells/ml.

I hope you get the medications you need soon. Let us know how things go. You are not alone. Even thousands of miles away, we are here to help you in any way we can.

Here is a link to search HIV services in South Africa: SOUTH AFRICAN AIDS DIRECTORY

Stay positive and do not let fear take over you. Action and reaching out like you are doing now are the best ways to gain control of what seem to be a hopeless situation for most of us when we find out we have been infected by this virus. Luckily, things are so much better now. The key is action and to reach out for help.

Let us know please how things go with you soon.

Nelson



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