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Thought I had asked the questions I had...but one more please
Oct 16, 2008

Yep, it's Alabama Gal again...

I was dx after I had spent 3 mos with a pos (unbeknownst to me). After he and I parted ways his sister in law called me to suggest 'btw, you knew he was HIV pos right?' ummm..no... I preacehd to my daughters to be safe, always use a condom because I believed that older adults would be honest and not intentionally infect. At any rate, I was tested within a week after the breakup and two weeks later I went for my results...

So, finally here's my question :)

I do not understand nor think it would be of benefit for me to know all the lab lingo...meaning the percentages, sero-conversion, CD$ and CD 8, whether my doc did the Elisa and Western...blah blah.

I know how to protect myself and others now. I keep on top of my labs, meaning I see my clinic reguarly/lab tests, know what my CD4/VL is.

Do I, as in 'DO I' need to know all the terminology...

I kind of think if I was all so consumed with this and that and the other I could be one of those that manifests 'symptoms' purely because I know 'too much'? Is it ok for me to 'just know that I have been pos for nearly 8 yrs, not on HAART yet, know my VL and CD4 count and how not to spread it to others nor put myself in any other jeparody as in HEP C, or other STD?'

Is it ok to just know the basics and not try to play doc on myself?

Personally I think knowing just the basics has eleviated alot of unneccessary worry.

And your thoughts?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Alabama Gal,

You "believed older adults would be honest"??? Hmm . . . honesty is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of "older" adults, like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and McCain!

Regarding your question, there really should be no correlation between knowing the basics (or much more than the basics) and playing doctor on oneself! I strongly advise against playing doctor on oneself, even if one happens to be a real doctor! However, I do strongly advocate all HIVers learn as much as possible about HIV, HIV monitoring tests, antiretroviral therapy, prevention, transmission and safer sexual techniques. This allows the "virally enhanced" individual to play an active role in their health and health care decisions working in concert with their HIV specialist. Understanding HIV actually decreases worry! You don't have to become an expert. That's what you have your HIV specialist for! And you don't have to learn everything right away. I'd suggest you begin with the chapter entitled "Just Diagnosed," which can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage under the Quick Links heading. You might also try reading Poz magazine.

Dr. Bob



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