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you inspire me but im scared
Sep 12, 2007

hello: i was recently informed that i was positive, its areally hard situation in my life because im gay and my parents did not know, i dont have ajob yet and im scared of the future, im 23 and i feel that the world cumbled to ashes under me, i read your profile and the fact that you lived so long and are so happy makes me wanna keep going and hope for a cure. i might start treatment soon, i would also like your opinion about it:i have 220,000 copies of the virus, log 5.34 y mis CD4 are 373 what do you think is best for me....

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

A positive HIV test is terrifying news. I'm sure the over 40,000,000 of us currently living with HIV remember the exact moment they learned they were HIV positive. Personally I recall feeling a shroud had just been drawn over my future. That my life had suddenly been divided into "before" and "after." And that indeed is the reality of cohabitating with HIV. However, that experience for me was now over 16 years ago and I'm still here. In fact, because of my experience of living with HIV, in many ways I've never felt more alive. No doubt a period of adjustment is to be expected as you come to grips with your new reality. A support system involving a competent and a compassionate HIV specialist in addition to trusted friends and family can help during this difficult period. With the right attitude a "positive" attitude in addition to being armed with correct information, working with an HIV specialist and having access to health care and HIV medications, most HIVers can live long and productive lives. Getting informed and taking charge of your health and "wellness" should be your primary focus at this time. Develop a strategy to adapt and cope with your new reality. A good place to start is with the information in the "Just Diagnosed" chapter on this site that can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage under Quick Links.

As for the optimal time to begin HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), there are many factors to be taken into consideration. Without knowing more about your situation, such as when you were infected and your trend in CD4 counts and CD4 percentages, etc., I cannot provide advice on what course would be best for you at this time. Generally speaking, if your CD4 count is in the 300-350 range consistently, HAART should be considered. Your HIV specialist will discuss with you the pros and cons of when and if to initiate therapy, based on your specific set of circumstances.

Regarding when and if to disclose your sexual orientation and HIV status this is a personal decision. Check the archives of this forum, as I've discussed this topic in depth on several occasions and my opinions remain unchanged on this subject. Overall I encourage disclosing over hiding whenever possible. Keeping secrets is seldom healthy.

Good luck. I'm here if you need me. Let's get through this together, OK?

Dr. Bob



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