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1/4/12 7:22 P

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Just diagnosed... panicked waiting for doctor
Jan 3, 2012

I was just diagnosed thru a local HIV outreach. This took two weeks. It will be two more weeks before I see a specialist. I was exposed less than six months ago, but I'm reading stories of viral loads being high - even for the newly infected. The wait to see a doctor is making me tremendously anxious as I imagine my numbers skyrocketing each day. Please help.

Response from Dr. McGowan

There is no need to worry. Things will work out. It seems that you would be willing to start meds when you see the doctor. That will help to suppress the virus and help allow the immune system to get back into balance.

When you see the doctor you should have a few tests done: The HIV viral load, a CD4 count and a drug resistance test. These will help show where you are in teh course of the infection and help plan which meds would work best for you. They should also do tests to review you basic health (these can all be done on the first visit or spread out): tests for hepatitis (A, B and C), sexually transmitted infections (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV), vitamin D levels, tuberculosis screening, urinalysis, cholesterol, glucose level, pap smears (cervical for women and anal for men and women), and review vaccinations (flu, pneumonia, tetanus/pertussis).

There are several good options for treatment, you should review them with your doctor and let your him/her know what your preferences are (pill burden, dosing, fear of particular side effects) and your daily schedule to help make the right choice for you.

Best, Joe

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