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What treatment shouldd I take?
May 8, 2002

Two weeks ago I tested HIV positive. After finding out that my boyfriend (for 2yrs) cheated on me with more than two women I got so angry and went for tests. At this stage no one knows about my status as I went straight to the lab for both my tests. Even though Im depressed mad at myself and having sleepless nights, Im confident that eventually Ill be ok. My CD4 count is 745 and the viral load is 640. What does this mean? What type of treatment do I need to start taking? Im not sick at all I dont have any of the known symptoms. I only had unsafe sex once with this stupid man (who now wants me to forgive him). He does not know about my status and I dont think he knows about his. Im South African and Ive been reading a lot about difficulties in obtaining aids medicine in our country. What kind of danger am I in? Please help me.

Response from Dr. Aberg

At this point your CD4 count is high (745) which is good and your HIV viral load is low which is also a good sign. I would not recommend any therapy at this time. You need to have those tests repeated to confirm these values and if they are similar then you should see your doctor periodically (every 3-4 months).

You should be tested for other types of infections that you may have been exposed to such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhea and several others. You also should seek help such as a support group or counselling to help you with your depression. You are not alone. It is natural to feel depressed when one first is diagnosed with HIV. I know medications are not as available in South Africa as they are in other countries. But there are excellent medical centers in the cities and I encourage you to go to one of them if you can. At some point, I encourage you to talk to your doctor about reproduction as should you decide later to have children, you will want to consider therapy at that time even though you may not need it for yourself. This is probably the last thing on your mind at this time, but you may feel differently later on.

You are not in danger immediately from the HIV. I encourage you to seek local care to help you understand about HIV, how to protect yourself, how to eat healthy and ways to prevent transmission.


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