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Does it matter when I was exposed?
Jun 25, 2006

Hi Doc D.,

I very strongly believe I have had HIV for about 4 months. I coincidentally went in for a blood test about 8 weeks after I believed I was exposed and it came back positive.

I know my initial CD4 was 266. That would have been about 9 weeks after exposure. I don't know what the viral load was and didn't ask. Anyway, I've been taking sutiva/truvada for a month now without problem (I don't really understand why adherence is so hard. It's only two pills once a day). Anyway, my question is this: Is my long-term prognosis improved by the fact that the virus was discovered, and subsequent therapy began, so soon after exposure?

I'm 28 now. Is it possible to live a normal life span? I am somewhat afraid to fathom long-term goals (like beyond 3 years) because I am not sure I'll be around to realize them.

I have yet to feel sick from HIV and just assume that if I follow the treatment closely, I won't have much to worry about right. Am I being realistic?

Response from Dr. Daar

It is always difficult to know when one becomes infected but certainly getting diagnosed early is good for many reasons. Whether treating within the first weeks to months of infection is better than the first years after infection is still an unanswered question. I think in your case the most important fact is that you are tolerating your mediations and taking them consistently. Assuming you follow your viral load and it does go to undetectable levels during the next few months I truly believe that you should plan for the future and anticipate living a normal life span.

Best, Eric


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