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IV drug user with some important questions
Jun 5, 2006

I am an IV drug user who lives in the downtown LA area.

I was diagnosed HIV positive 1 year ago - that was the bad luck. I was left a substantial amount of money by a deceased relative recently, which has allowed me to clear my debts, rent a clean apartment and get off the streets and just generally clean myself up.

I have also cut down my use enough to be able to hold down a part time job. That's the good news.

I am a 27 year old male. My drug addiction began when I was 22. With virtually no money, HIV, debts and a drug habit, I really thought life was over.

Now, with this luck I feel I may have a chance except that my friend who is also a drug user said that with my 5 years of IV drug use that my immune system would now have been damaged beyond repair, that any drugs would be useless and that my days were numbered.

I now have the money to get the best medical care America has to offer. Do you think I have a chance at getting back on track? And if so, What would you say is the best place to get treatment for both HIV and my addiction?

Thanks for providing this service.

~ Rob ~

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Rob,

The "advice" your buddy gave about your immune system being beyond repair and your days being numbered is total bullshit.

Do you have a chance to get back on track? Absofrickinlutely!

Regarding your next step, I suggest you hook up with a competent and compassionate HIV/AIDS specialist. There are many in the LA area, including those at the medical centers, such as UCLA. You can locate a certified AIDS specialist in your area by checking the American Academy of HIV Medicine's Web site, www.aahivm.org. They have a list of HIV specialists organized by city. Once established with a specialist you trust, ask him for a referral to an HIV-sensitive drug-addiction program. Most of us have colleagues whom we work closely with and trust. By using an addiction specialist who knows your HIV specialist well, the two can work more cooperatively together.

Rob, it's time for you to prove your buddy wrong!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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