How to stop living in fear.


Hi Doctor, I was diagnosed in March of 2014 and started tivicay and Epzicom at that time. I've never missed a dose or even really been late. News switched to tivicay and Truvada in September of 2015 due to extreme side effects of probably the abacavir. Fast heartbeat, breathing problems, whole body rash etc. It took forever for my doctors to change my meds. I had one blip to 158 VL on the tivicay Epzicom right before changing to tivicay truvada, three months later VL was 58 and my cells dropped from like 600 to 400. In due for my next results with the Doctor this week.I live in constant panic my meds will stop working. I can't go on like this and I have to try to find a way to live with some peace about my condition. I am so afraid I'll end up running out of medicine options and from of AIDS. I'm already on what most say is the best meds, so if these stop the I feel like I will just be on a downward slope. Please explain what you tell patients who feel the same way. I can't be the only person who feels this way right? I live in 4 month increments from test to test and I don't know how I can keep my sanity doing that. Please help me Doctor. I search the term HIV cure all day approximately 100 to 150 times each day. It's the first thing I do upon waking up, and the last thing before going to sleep. I realize it's a problem and my doctor told me I should see a mental therapist about my anxiety and compulsive searching, but even with insurance it costs $75.00 per visit. I'm too poor at this point to afford the help I need, and make just enough money to be disqualified for free help here Florida where I live.


Hello and thanks for posting.

It's understandable that you might have apprehension about your long-term prognosis living with HIV.

This is what I tell my new patients: (1) HIV medications work. They work far better than in the past, and prevent serious illness, progression to AIDS and death. (2) On treatment and with an undetectable viral load, it's virtually impossible to transmit the virus to others. (3) Life expectancy is getting better all the time, and is near-normal now for people who have access to care and treatment. (4) If your virus is suppressed, and you remain adherent to treatment, your CD4 count is no longer a relevant lab test. (5) Once the virus is suppressed, we'll focus on all the other important aspects of health: preventative medicine (vaccinations, smoking, cancer screening), mental health, food/housing security. (6) While there's no current cure for HIV, current treatments for HIV are as good as any aspect of current medicine. Better than treatments diabetes, heart disease or mental illness. (7) Stigma and discrimination remain a significant issue, but in our clinic, we do everything humanly possible to minimize how they influence your medical care. (8) I have many, many patients who are living well with HIV.

Overall, I agree with your doctor's assessments. You're on an excellent HIV regimen, though I agree that you may have an anxiety disorder, or adjustment disorder. While access to a therapist seems problematic for you, ask your clinic or local AIDS service organization if they recommendations for low- or no-cost support groups or counselors.

I hope that helps, and feel free to write me back anytime at this Forum. BY