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HIV+ working in Hospital
Dec 29, 2004

Dr. Dr Breuer, My cousin is Hiv positive, she's in good health right now. Her therapy includes sustiva and combivir. Her Viral load before taking the therapy was about 6,000 and her CD4 was about 450. She's only been taking the meds. for about 6 weeks now, and she's due for her bld. test to see whether the meds. is working in her. My question is she's a nurse, and she's a nurse in Baltimore hospital, and everyday she's expose to all kinds of sickness. What would be her chances of getiing the airborne bacteria and viruses that floating in the hospital? Is she more susceptible to sickness compared to other hospital workers that are HIV neg.? I am woried about her, I love her dearly. But nursing is her passion. Please answer this question. Thanks for all your support.

the cousin

Response from Ms. Breuer

The risks to someone with HIV of all the stuff you can encounter in a hospital vary with viral load and CD4 count. I assume that your cousin's physician knows her occupation and takes it into consideration. At her CD4 count (and I am NOT a doctor, by the way, so take that into consideration!), my understanding is that her immune system is functioning well enough for her to be fine. This is a matter between her and her doc.

How has her immune system functioned before? Is she someone who rarely got sick? If so, that pattern is likely to continue. Immune systems are unique to individuals, and many HIV-positive people can function remarkably well--and healthily--in pretty germy situations.

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