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revolutionizing hiv treatment and care- lost in Mid-michgian
Jul 23, 2008

Dr. Bob, Best of health to you sir! Being part of the poz community i keep looking each day doing google searches and reading reports on new hiv drugs, hopes, and discoveries but i have yet to see something- some type of treatment that says "revolutionizing hiv treatment" - "hiv is no longer a death sentence today" - which leads me to my other question, there seems to be a debate between hiv doctors and common lay people in the united states- an average person if you ask them if do you think hiv/aids is a death sentence- not only will they say Yes in 2008 it is- they will say that if they caught hiv/aids they would load a 45 clock it to their head (temple) and pull the trigger without thinking. Meanwhile you have guys on youtube - probably the most educated gay man besides you (:-)) who gives the most impressive argument how it is quite possible to live a long time and have a good quality of life. There are so many variables, so many uncertainties, so many things people just dont understand -its extremely difficult to sit down and pinpoint a saying that - you will be okay. I am newly diagnosed in 2008- 30 years of age. I would like to live to see at least my 60s. I have major debt. I am pursuing a professional degree. Its hard to know what to do- i dont want to spend the rest of my life fighting for something (planning to live 20 years- when 5 years later im dead) - but then at the same time - i dont want to say damn what a fool i was - if i could somehow get lucky and live to see 60 and who knows maybe at 49 - a new vaccine is introduced. I doubt it because i am never that lucky..but who knows- the world is full of surprises wouldnt you say? I mean look at Magic Johnson, Greg Louganis, yourself, and i do all this research on the net - and you see guys like Bob Bowers, and other guys. I dont know what to think and do. I just want to sit in my house and hide away until there is a cure. But that will fail me out of school, put me in more debt, put me out of house and home, i probably will get sick in the meantime, and just wont do anything productive. I want to live a life as normal as can be with this- i know i can never life a normal life as before- but i just dont want to be an outcast of society. I know you understand. If anyone does, you do. I am sooooo sorry to bother you with this long email. You if anyone have the right to tell me off- afterall you been fighting since 1991 and because of that- i have to say you are a hero and source of inspiration. Thank you.

Stay well. Lost in Mid-Michigan

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Lost in Mid-Michigan,

See below.

Dr. Bob

is hiv a death sentence Jul 23, 2008

Dr. Bob,

Im sure many readers have this question: there seems to be a debate whether hiv is a death sentence in 2008 or whether it is possible for one who gets infected today in 2008 to live a normal life able to pursue a career have a family and so forth.

Please give ur input thanx. TJ

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello TJ,

This is actually a debate that can never be definitively settled for at least the next 50 or so years. We'll need that long to see what actually happens to people who get infected today in 2008. None of us has an infallible crystal ball to predict the future. What I can tell you today is that there has been truly remarkable progress in the development of new highly effective, potent, novel anti-HIV therapies over the recent years. These agents, which began with the introduction of protease inhibitors in mid-1996, have had a dramatic effect on both morbidity and mortality. More recently, new generations of protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors have been introduced along with novel new therapies, such as integrase inhibitors and fusion inhibitors. These new agents, which have only recently become more widely available, appear to hold great promise. Will they allow newly infected patients to live a "normal life?" We can only hope. However, even if these agents allow newly infected folks to live a normal lifespan, I doubt cohabitation with HIV will ever allow for a completely "normal life." After all, being infected with a retrovirus is not normal by definition. Will HIVers be able to "pursue a career and have a family and so forth?" Absolutely. In fact, we already are doing that and have been for quite some time. Is HIV a death sentence? No. In fact, the only condition that I truly consider to be a death sentence is "being born." Absolutely no one who has ever been born will get out of here alive (with or without HIV!).

TJ, the take-home message was best summed up by Abraham Lincoln when he said: "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Dr. Bob



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