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Word on the Street

If I Were HIV Positive

HIV Experts Reveal When and With What HIV Medications They Would Start Treatment

Experts tell others what to do. That's their job. But what if they were infected with HIV? When would they start treatment and what medication would they take? In this growing section, you'll hear from HIV-negative HIV specialists and HIV advocates. They will share with you what they would do if they were positive.

Martin Delaney

Martin Delaney
Founding Co-Director, Project Inform, San Francisco, Calif.

If I knew I was infected, I'd try to start treatment the next day. But even if it was a week later, I would do that, because the evidence has really shifted.

Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H.

Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

There are several questions there. One is: When would you start because you were recently infected? The other is just: When would you start, period?

Anton Pozniak, M.D.

Anton Pozniak, M.D.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, U.K.

If I had acute seroconversion, I wouldn't be treated. I'd wait and see what happens to my CD4 cell count.


Reader Comments:

Comment by: A (SF) Mon., Jan. 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm UTC
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Comment by: leahbeth (Kamloops, bc) Sat., Feb. 5, 2011 at 1:08 am UTC
I was diagnosed in 2009, can't remember exactly when because it was right after my partner passed away and I was heavy in grief and shock, finding out after he passed that he had, had hiv for about 10 yrs. So the time we were together,about 4 yrs I didn't know. Wow, that was a very traumatizing event in my life, I loved him like no other. Anyways of course my test came back positive, but at that point I didn't care, my thoughts were, good, i wanted to die so I could join him. It took sometime to snap out of it, but as I was slowly getting on with my life, I found myself in deep depression, tryin to work 2 jobs and take care of my kids, i also started getting bad anxiety attacks..anyways to make a long story short,looking back in retrospect, I wish I would of known more about the virus and had my tests done as soon as I found out I had it and maybe my cd4 count wouldn't of been so low, although I have no idea how long they have been low or how long I've been infected. I do know that I'm waiting to start my meds and while I'm waiting I'm on antibiotics. The best advice I've heard all along is to educate yourself about the virus.What I don't understand is why when back in aug 2010 my cd4 count was 140 and my doctor didn't advise me what the numbers meant or put me on meds right away.I finally get a specialist in jan this year and get retested and find out my cd4 is at 160 and of course its explained to me that I should be on meds right away...Hmmm kind of confusing.

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Comment by: Justme (Texas) Sun., Aug. 29, 2010 at 5:21 am UTC
Fear is the worst possible thing that you can allow to run your life. Get tested as soon as possible if you feel you may be infected. The drugs that are out now are amazing. I found out I was HIV positive a few months ago, and already the virus is not detectable in my body, because I started treatment early! Please get tested, pretending that it is not there is doing more harm than good for you. I am so grateful for my new life. I know what's important now. I know that sounds crazy, but I took life for granted before and now's amazing what a shake up will do. God bless everyone on this site, I'm praying for y'all
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Comment by: clement (Vienna) Fri., Jul. 9, 2010 at 8:10 am UTC
I was dignose HIV possitive seven years ago, throughout these period I live med.Just about two month ago I went for test and the result was negative and I tried again and the the result is still negative. My Doc asked if I have been taking something else to support the medication but I didn`t took anything else. Does the result means that I am free? the question in this situation is pending.
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Comment by: hp (brooklyn ny) Sat., Apr. 17, 2010 at 4:56 am UTC
i took the test and havent gotten my results and im terrified........ everyone says such inspirational things on this site but i dont know if i could live... im only 20 and i made a mistakes... im so nervous
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Comment by: Malik (Malang, East Java, Indonesia) Tue., Jan. 26, 2010 at 12:06 am UTC
If I were HIV positive... i don't know what i'm gonna do... honestly, i'm afraid of the stigma attached to people with HIV/AIDS..
Well, I'm going to receive my test result in 3 hours. Wish me luck!
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Comment by: lucy (india) Sun., Jan. 24, 2010 at 10:51 am UTC
i was exposed on jan 5th 2009.had all the symptoms(rashes,throat infection,lymp node,on and off slight sweat at night )and tested positive on nov. till date am scared to test my cd4 and viral load. am 26 yrs.
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Comment by: niky (houston) Wed., Dec. 16, 2009 at 9:21 pm UTC
i will said if postive first give to god because people going except when they ready if they dont move on to some thing that will it your life any way you got time for wrong thing people try bring you already stand in rain
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Comment by: Joselyn (Allentown PA) Sat., Dec. 12, 2009 at 8:41 pm UTC
hello everyone, i pray that everyone here that thinks they might be HIV+ aren't. It's known that now in days people with HIV can live a long time with treatment, but still is a hard situation to be in mostly if you have children. Which luck and strength for the one that are HIV+ and the ones that don't know god bless
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Comment by: Kyia (Lagrange, IN) Mon., Dec. 7, 2009 at 8:56 am UTC
You see if I was HIV + I'm not sure what I would do. All I know is that I would try to be strong and live my life to its fullest because no one knows if tomorrow will be there.
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Comment by: Britt (Knoxville, TN) Mon., Nov. 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm UTC
I am afraid that i may be positive, i will find out in a week. I would like to ask that everyone pray for me and more importantly pray for everyone on this board and in the world dealing with this problem.
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Comment by: tisha (miami,fl) Sat., Nov. 21, 2009 at 11:05 am UTC
sometimes i think that i'm hiv positive. i don't know. i'm scared to get checked. my mother had hiv for 15 years. she died in 1993. i don't want to be sick - i have 3 little kids...
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Comment by: Karen (Guyana,Georgetown.) Mon., Nov. 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm UTC
Hello I'm 23 yrs he's 38 if i was HIV positive i don't know what I'll do. U see lst year sep. 2008, I found out my bf is HIV positive n I was negative. I went through hell just thinking about it same time I was preg n had a miscarriage my weight went up to 250. Now it's back to 235. It's now nov. 09 n I'm still negative. I ended the relationship in march but we communicate by phone. nw its very hard. I very scared cause i don't want to die. thanks to this web site i have the info.
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Comment by: Jeannie W (Florida) Thu., Nov. 12, 2009 at 3:37 pm UTC
It so makes me sad to see how so many people with this virus are treated! I married my 2nd husband after my 1st died in a car accident, And my husband told me in advance he was HIV positive. I did not care. I loved him. We had 14 years together. He raised my four children as his own. He went to schools to educate the students on the virus, might I add doing a better job then the health teachers. He passed away at home, Nov. 6, 2007 after being a real fighter for many years. I am negative and now I am upset and angry that there are so many uneducated, niave people in this world! I am out to educate! I talk to people infected and affected and have met some very strong people in this walk I am on. I ask people to love those who carry this virus as if they had cancer. We can make them sick before they can harm us. God Bless those living with the virus and the loved ones that are there for them. Also remember this at some point we will all know someone or love someone who has this virus! Time to really Educate, and we can get this virus under control. May God also bless the many hospice workers who really do care.
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Comment by: francis (seattle) Thu., Nov. 5, 2009 at 1:09 am UTC
We all make mistakes and decisions in life. If it happens I'm HIV positive, I just need to accept it and move on, educate people about the disease, follow the experts and be positive. Live life to the fullest, life can end anytime.
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Comment by: George Maris (Charlottesville VA) Sun., Sep. 20, 2009 at 12:24 pm UTC
The most important thing a person could do, is to treat themselves good, Taking care of your body and mind is as important as knowing one's health. Get annual check ups, that includes HIV testing.
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Comment by: LORIA COX (NORTH CAROLINA) Sun., Sep. 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm UTC
I feel if a person is hivpositive or not you still should enjoy life because .who's promise tommorw.i i was positive i'll try to be strong for my children.
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Comment by: tracy (Greenville, MS) Sat., Aug. 29, 2009 at 11:40 am UTC
Hello my friend is HIV+ and recently had a stomach virus (along with almost everyone in the home). He had blood drawn 3 weeks ago but yesterday his lab work mentioned that his viral load was low and his t cell count was 350. He's on medication and other than the virus he has been doing fine. Should I be worried about his health i'm trying to keep him upbeat. Can someone please tell me what methods he should take when having safe sex.
Thanks and God bless you all!
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Comment by: oddessa (georgetown) Thu., Aug. 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm UTC
tomorrow i will be finding out if i am HIV+ or not. i am in a high risk category and i am very scared. i don't know what i would do if i was positive. i would like to think that i would be strong but i don't know.
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Comment by: Brittany (Bmt,TX) Mon., Aug. 17, 2009 at 11:59 pm UTC
If I was positive I would change the way I would look at life Forever. (Workout more, Get involved in activities, Be closer to my family) and Accept life........
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Comment by: JOY (SOUTH AFRICA) Mon., Aug. 17, 2009 at 4:37 am UTC
IF i were postive i would change what ive been doing and be a better person by educating young people about it, i would live life to the fullest and make sure that people see me as a person of courage and love
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Comment by: ancella johnson (alaska) Fri., Aug. 7, 2009 at 3:21 pm UTC
my husband is positive I am negative, how do you explain that. does it mean i am a carrier
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Comment by: johnboy (sacromento) Tue., Aug. 4, 2009 at 10:33 am UTC
My dad is on cardiprin, betaloc, exforge and crestor for his heart.
Do these drugs interfere with the anti viral drugs?
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Comment by: Nelis (Northern New Jersey) Thu., May. 21, 2009 at 4:30 am UTC
To everyone on here that suffers from this illness and is reading these words, I will pray that you all stay healthy and enjoy every single day of your lives without any pain, sorrow, regret or sadness. My heart is with you and so are my prayers.

"There's only us,
There's only this,
Forget regret-- or life is yours to miss.
No other road,
No other way,
No day but today"

You are loved, God bless.
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Comment by: Theresa (Los Angeles) Fri., Apr. 24, 2009 at 2:23 am UTC
My brother is 21 and has just found out he is HIV positive..:( i am so very sad for him and I want to know what should I do?
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Comment by: kenny (gulfport mississippi) Sun., Apr. 12, 2009 at 12:26 am UTC
i pray that our new president of the united states
pushes a cure to be found during his term.
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Comment by: John (Alton, Illinois) Thu., Mar. 12, 2009 at 8:44 pm UTC
I pray for this
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Comment by: Jessy (La, ca) Wed., Feb. 25, 2009 at 6:40 am UTC
I don't know what to do my boyfriend is HIV+ for almost 2 years. And he doesn't wan to go see a doctor or anything else. Am scare for him! What can I do?
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Comment by: cherina (providence,r.i) Fri., Feb. 6, 2009 at 1:29 pm UTC
if i were h.i.v positive id probably do everything as if it were my last day because living with h.i.v is very scary. To do it alone is even worse!!!!!
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Comment by: Joey Thu., Jan. 15, 2009 at 10:39 pm UTC
Anthony, the medications in 2009 are really not as toxic as the medicines of 15 years ago. So it's hard to base any decisions on your friend. If your CD4 count is 350 or lower, your immune system is compromised and you are in danger for lots of infections including heart disease and even cancer. There is no evidence the new medications hurt your liver, kidney and other organs. But there is a lot of evidence that HIV does serious damage to your body.
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Comment by: Anthony (Chicago, IL) Thu., Jan. 15, 2009 at 9:35 pm UTC
My largest concern with taking medication early is I want to hold off the longterm effects of the medicine. I am young and I have no other health problems other than the fact that I am HIV +. I am concerned about what the medicine will do to my liver, kidneys, and other major organs in my body in the long run. I have a friend who has been + for 15 years and now he is on dialisis. I do not know if it was because of the medication or if he was predisposed to kidney and liver problems.
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