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Slow progressors
Jun 26, 2006

Dr Bob, I am about to be tested for hiv next week and have had counselling with hiv specialists before this. We are all sure I have contracted the virus from a man that didnt disclose his status to me - but we have since found out. My sero conversion was the worst flu I'd ever had! My question is....that was a year ago now, and since - I have had a few swollen glands now and then, a few ulcers in my mouth (not severe) and small nose infections propably brought on by sinus due to allergies. I hear of people being "slow progressors" and assume I am not one of them. Those people generally dont have a symptom for many many years am I correct? Does this mean I am getting sicker faster than your average person with hiv? Does that automatically mean that I wont live as long? Because of my younger years of too much binge drinking and smoking in my 20's (I am now 33), does this mean my immune system has been damaged to a degree that I will progess quickly? After kindly answering those questions, could you please offer some light into why "slow progressors" are just that? is it the life they led before being diagnosed? Is it age? Is it just in the genes? etc etc Does anyone know what contibutes to someone progressing very slowly?

Thankyou Dr Bob.

Jamie

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Jamie,

Wow, you had all those questions after having counseling with HIV specialists???

Jamie, I could write a very extensive response to each of your dozen questions, but I feel that's getting way ahead of the things you need to focus on at the present time. First off, we do not even know if you're HIV positive or not! That's step number 1! I suggest you focus on that first. One thing the counselors should have mentioned to you is that symptoms are notoriously unreliable in diagnosing HIV disease. Also, exposure, even to someone who is confirmed to be HIV positive, does not automatically mean you are infected! I believe it's premature for you and your counselors to be "sure" you have contracted the virus. What you can be sure of is your level of risk based on your type of exposure and your need for HIV testing. Beyond that no one knows anything for sure.

Jamie, you can read all about non-progressors and those who experience the more usual course of HIV disease in the archives, if you are interested. However, at this point, I believe you should be reading about the risk of HIV transmission and HIV diagnostic tests.

I'll send my good-luck karma that the counselors and your own suspicions are wrong.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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