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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
          
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EXTREME WEAKNESS
Sep 14, 2007

i was hiv back in 2002 when i took an hiv test BUT my doctor told me i didn't have the hiv virus .. instead he told me its just that you have low white blood cells .... so i said what do i do now? he said go home! now 5 years later i find out all this time i had the virus and never taken anything for it .... i didn't find out until july 6th 2007 that i now have full blown aids. .... i'm 6'1" caucasion male, 46 yrs old. ..... and i wiegh about 108 pounds ... everyday it goes up a couple pounds then drops again to a new low. .. my entire body itches extremely especially when i wake up. ... i scratch till i literally bleed ... my legs that are so thin and bony can barely hold up my body. when i'm standing up or walking it feels like a heavy person is jumping up and down on my chest making my heart race and i breath very fast and heavy .. sometimes i don't know if i'll make it home alive. .. the only thing that brings my strength back temporarily is when the hosp. puts that IV in my arm and lets it drip for a few hours. .. the last bag i had lasted only one or two more days than a week THEN it wore off and it came back with a vengence, a mean streak! since may 31st 07 i have been living on my couch since thats when all the weakness disappears by that i mean laying on my couch. THE WHOLE SUMMER! i don't want to live the rest of my life on a very much uncomfortable couch! ok what i'd like to know is could you give me a ball park figure on how long i have to live? thank you. bill

Response from Dr. Henry

I hope you are now in the care of an HIV specialist with access to potent antiretroviral therapy. For patients in that situation the prognosis can be quite good though the course is variable. Some patients will do very well on antiretroviral therapy with a recovery of their CD4 count to satisfactory levels and a return to good health. In that case the prognosis for long survival (measured in decades) can be quite favoralbe. Patients who don't have access to good HIV treatment can still have a variable course but the prognosis for long term survival is not very good in most cases. In some patients on effective therapy, complications of AIDS or side effects from medications or from immune recovery can blunt the effectiveness of treatment leading to concern about long term survival. Most patients with access to quality HIV care can do well for a long time in your situation. KH



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