Fatigue (Epstein-Barr) and HIV Infection?

Question

I am 35 year old male who has been dx. hiv poz since 1994. I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus 2 years ago this week.

My question is:

How common is it for HIV poz folks to have EBV?

My doctor said it was not the inital infection, when I complained of being tired they always said "Your just Depressed" (Big Difference!)

Answer

Hello,

The incidence of EBV infection is the same in the Poz and neggie populations. From your post, it appears your EBV results demonstrated past infection ("not the initial infection"), which is a fairly common phenomenon. If that's the case and the laboratory studies are not demonstrating a reactivation, I would not consider this to be a significant cause for your HIV-associated fatigue. There are, however, a great number of other potential underlying conditions that could be contributing to your energy drain. The short list includes: (1) anemia; (2) inadequate rest, sleep, exercise and diet; (3) psychological causes stress anxiety, depression; (4) unrecognized infections; (5) endocrine abnormalities, such as adrenal insufficiency, hypogonadism and hypothyroidism; (6) medication side effects or toxicities and (7) even HIV itself.

I would suggest you review the archives of this forum for a thorough discussion of these common potential causes, as well as many other not-so-common potential causes of HIV-related fatigue, and then discuss them with your HIV specialist. Being told "you're just depressed" is not sufficient. If indeed you do have the blues, he should be advising you what to do about it! If he has not ruled out the other potential causes for your fatigue, then his diagnosis that the sole cause of your exhaustion is depression is premature and presumptive.

Good luck. Hope your batteries are soon recharged.

Dr. Bob