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recently found out lm hiv
Jul 24, 2008

Hi Dr bob, recently found out l am hiv and live in Los Angeles, l have found a good doctor but cant believe l have hiv, l am 39 years old and heathy apart from hiv my cd4 count is 460 and viral load 18,000 no heps... please tell me what is the lifespan of someone like me and what would l expect as far as side effects that could change my lifestyle...

l am so freaked out and feel my life is over, but l am staying as strong as l can... thank you for your time

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. A period of adjustment to your new reality as a "virally enhanced" person is normal and to be expected. That you are young and healthy, have a reasonably good CD4 count and have a low HIV plasma viral load are all good prognostic indicators that you could, and should, do well for quite some time, in spite of cohabitating with HIV. As for lifespan and side effects, unfortunately neither I nor anyone else has an infallible crystal ball that can accurately see what will happen in the future. However, feeling that "my life is over" is not helpful. If you give in to HIV, it will indeed conquer you. If instead you take control of your "health," you're much more likely to remain healthy!

You report you "can't believe (you) have HIV." Step one is to accept reality. Counseling may help. Step two is to get informed. Start by reading the chapter entitled "Just Diagnosed" that can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage under the heading "Quick Links." From there, read other pertinent information in the archives and on related links. Step three: Work closely with a competent and compassionate HIV specialist.

In case you didn't already know, I've been HIV positive since January 1991. The past 17.5 years, despite HIV, have been the best of my life on this marvelous and wacky planet. Yes, having HIV can be challenging, but being positive about being positive can help conquer those challenges.

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

Dr. Bob



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