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Tested Positive...what to expect
Feb 9, 2002

Dear Dr, Tested positive 2 days ago and getting blood work done in my next appointment (which is 2 months away! Yes 2 months). Honestly speaking, I'm on the verge of giving up. I dont think I can carry on any longer. One freak accident and thats it..my life's as good as gone. What else can I expect?'I spent the last 2 days browsing the web and noticed that the current opinion on Haart seems gloomy. Some experts beginning to be unsure that the supression of Haart will go beyond 10 years. I'm SO depressed. I have a one year old boy...will I see him grow up? Will I be able to keep my job and provide him? Please, Dr, I know you're not a fortune teller, realistically and honestly speaking (based on your own judgement), how much time do we have with HAART? Will there be many more regimens available in the next 5-10 years? Will I live to see my kid grow up? Will I have a future? HW

Response from Dr. Pavia

Dear HW,

You have a future. You will live to see your child grow up. You will have to worry about growing old, getting gray, developing a bad back, and saving for the future. How is that for no crystal ball.

After getting diagnosed, everything is a whirl. It is hard to absorb all the information and to deal with the shock, fear, guilt, despair, and other emotions too many to list. It is not possible to become an expert on the future of HIV therapy on top of all of that.

Take heart. I honestly believe that people diagnosed with HIV today who live in a developed country, and can get good medical care and take good care of themselves are likely to live as long as un-infected persons.

Yes, current drug regimens may not last forever. But even with only the current drugs, many people will have good viral control for much more than 10 years (on top of the relatively slow progression of the disease without treatment). More importantly, we are making progress at a very good clip. New drugs come out at a rate of about 1 a year, and major new approaches should continue to come through.

It may not be easy. There are lots of blood draws, doctor visits, condoms and uncertainty. There may be prejudice, fear, depression. There may be drug side effects. It is still a big deal, and nobody should write off being infected as trivial, but you have a future.

So, hang in there. Go play with your child. Make sure you find a medical home and provider you like and can work with. Keep reading and learning, but take what you read on the net with a grain of salt. None of us have all of the answers (I certainly don't!!!)

Good luck

ATP



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