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Can a HIV positive person live normally?

Q: I have been diagnosed with HIV. This news has shocked me and I want to kill myself. I still want to do a second test to be sure. What is your advice? Is a single test enough to confirm HIV? If positive, how long can I live? Please tell me what are the advantages and disadvantages of someone who is HIV positive if he or she smokes? Is it good for a HIV positive person to have sex?

A:Certainly you should get a second test done. Most labs do 2 tests before declaring a sample to be positive. In fact I feel it is very wrong to tell a patient that he or she has a HIV infection with one test. If your second test is negative, please stop worrying that you are infected. Even one negative test over-rides a positive test report. If the second test is also positive, then you are most probably actually infected with HIV. But you must understand that a diagnosis of HIV infection is not the end of your life. Even when no specific treatment for HIV is prescribed, half the persons with HIV infection are still well after 10 years. If the person lives a regulated regular life with adequate balance nutrition and rest, together with care to treat all the usual infections that everyone gets, this period can be extended. In addition with specific treatment (with anti-retroviral medicines) the serious life-threatening consequences such as AIDS can be postponed indefinitely. So do not give up on life - you have plenty of time ahead of you - use it productively. About sex, yes some form of sex is very important to someone of your age. However you must realise that if you are indeed HIV positive, unprotected insertive sex (where the penis or semen enters any part of the partner's body vagina, anus or even mouth) is very likely to infect the partner ultimately. Therefore please make very sure that you either have non-insertive sex such as (mutual) masturbation or frottage (rubbing against the partners body) etc or always use a condom from start to finish. I must emphasise that unfortunately even a properly used fresh, undamaged condom does not offer 100% protection and a small risk remains. Your life has not ended; a new style of living has begun.

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