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HIV and stress
Mar 7, 2005

Dear Dr Bob, You have many followers and you are one hel of a funny guy! My Question is that I am HIV poz and under extreme stress and am wondering if stress is harmful to HIV positive individuals??

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Well, there's stress and then there's STRESS!

As it turns out, intermittent low-grade stress is actually good for the immune system (whether HIV poz or not), but excessive stress can indeed by harmful. How much stress is too much? Having your mother-in-law visit for a week and knowing that she snoops around your bedroom looking for your goody drawer while you are at work can be mildly stressful. Whereas major stress might be something like:

1. Being the person responsible for keeping Condi Rice's hair looking like, well, Condi Rice's hair.

2. Being Cheney's cardiologist.

3. Being Dubya's speech and language coach.

If you are concerned that your current situation is so stressful it may be harmful to your health (altering your sleep, adversely affecting your diet/nutrition, interfering with your ability to adhere to your medication schedule, etc.), talk to your HIV specialist. He may be able to help by suggesting work restrictions or even help you put a restraining order out on your mother-in-law.

Also, I highly recommend exercise yoga, beach vacations and steamy sex to ratchet down the stress levels.

So if things really get bad, why not try having sex with a hot yoga instructor on a white-sand beach in the Great Barrier Reef. That always seems to work well for me!

Stay well. De-stress before you become a mess.

Dr. Bob



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