Newly Diagnosed and Truly Scared

Question

Dear Dr. Young, I am newly diagnosed - coping as well as possible - after doctors and nurses tried to convince me If I take the treatment I can live a normal life. Is this true? i have been reading horror stories on the internet of people who have lived 30 years on the older medicines - and still one hears of the list of complications: kidney failure, liver problems, heart attacks, bone density problems.... and I am scared again. Please if you can, give some hope to me. I need it this night.

Answer

Hello and thanks for posting.

Sorry to learn about your recent diagnosis.

Your doctors and nurses are right. With initiation of treatment soon after diagnosis, with modern medicines, life expectancy and quality of life can be normal.

Older medicines, for all their life-saving properties were indeed nightmares for many, with high rates of side effects and toxicities. Today's medications, properly selected and monitored rarely are associated with any serious or irreversible complications.

Yes, it's entirely reasonable to be mindful of one's pre-treatment risks (like kidney, liver, heart or bone problems) and select treatments based on this knowledge. Treatment guidelines exist to also guide the myriad primary care issues for people living with HIV.

Staying engaged in your care, and adherence to appointments and medications alike; having a non-judgmental relationship with your care providers are important and can you navigate your health and care options.

I hope this is helpful, BY