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HIV or AIDS?
Feb 8, 2012

I was diagnosed positive the beginning of 1998 but didn't start on meds. In '99 I started getting sick, I went through shingles, pneumonia a couple times, sinus infections, a kidney infection, and thrush, not to mention my general ill feeling throughout it all. I went to local doctors for these illnesses and never divulged my HIV for fear of stigma. I finally made it to see the specialist for a workup. I had AIDS with a viral load of 298,000 and a CD4 of 160. I was put on medication at this time and in about 6 months my viral load was undetectable. I have had an undetectable viral load ever since. I'm wondering that since I once had AIDS, am I still considered to have AIDS and not just HIV?

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi Be given an AIDS diagnosis and then rebuilding your immune system with medications, getting to an undetectable viral load and your CD4's starting to climb back up will get your health stable will not take away your AIDS status. This is more for statistics and how the epidemiologist keep the numbers in their database. Remember AIDS is just a state that your body gets to when HIV does what it supposed to do. You can just say you have HIV, if there is a fear or not wanting to say the words that I have AIDS. I was given my AIDS diagnosis in 1996, you ask me today and I just say that I'm living with HIV.

Hope this helps, Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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