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Bad Strain?
Jun 13, 2006

Dr Bob..... I am about to be tested next week after being fairly sure I have contracted hiv through my ex partner. He was only diagnosed recently, but has already had shingles, weight loss, loss of appetite etc....I am wondering what it means for me if he has infected me with a "bad strain" that I keep hearing about? Does this mean my infection will immediately be more advanced? Will that make the difference between me staying well longer or will it mean getting aids quicker? Please help me with this concern of mine. Things I am reading are confusing and frightening me.

Tom.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Whoa! Hang on a moment. You haven't even gone for your HIV test yet and you are already making dire predictions about your morbidity and mortality???

To answer your hypothetical question, no, what happened to your "ex" will not automatically happen to you. Yes, some HIV strains can be more aggressive than others but,the response to HIV infection is dependent on a variety of both host (the person being infected) and virological (the viral strain) factors. The host factors include the efficacy of the immune response, concurrent illnesses, age, etc. The viral factors include strain, resistance to antiretroviral drugs, etc. To delve deeper into the hypothetical "what ifs" at this point would be premature and not at all helpful.

At this point I suggest you take things one step at a time. Getting tested is your next step. Write back after that if you need additional information, OK?

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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