I am HIV positive, can I live a normal life?
Q: I was tested HIV positive twice. But I haven't fallen sick nor felt that I am carrying a virus that causes AIDS. What should I do to be sure of my test results? Should I trust them? Other people don't trust me when I tell them and call me a joker. My fiancee loves me a lot and tested negative for AIDS. She says whatever the results be, she still wants me. What should I do?
A:Generally, if two tests are positive one can assume that the result is correct and HIV infection is present. If you wish you can have a third test also but make sure that a kit different to the first one is used, if it is again positive there can be no doubt about your HIV status. For the first many years, an average of 9.8 years, there are no signs and symptoms from the infection and the person feels well and, in fact, is well. He is able to work, earn a living, look after his family. In fact he can live a normal life. You understand of course that when I say an average of 9.8 years it means that there will be persons who develop illness earlier but there will also be persons who continue beyond that period in the quiet stage. Normal social interactions at work, in public life, in the family do not pose a risk to anyone else and there be no cause for concern. However, the virus can be spread through blood and via sexual intercourse. You must not donate blood and never share a syringe for injection. The matter of sex is more difficult. You will always have to use measures to prevent passing on the infection. Even an infected person must protect himself/herself against reinfection as that can have a bad effect on the progress of the disease. If you and your fiancee decide to marry after considering all aspects that is only the business of the two of you. You must decide for yourself. Please keep in mind that even if your fiancee and you have had sex and she has not got infected it is no guarantee that she will not acquire the infection later on increased exposure. She will also not be able to bear your child without the risk if becoming HIV positive herself -- then who will look after the child in the long run? The chance of condom failure and your wife getting infection is 15% over time. Obviously in a short letter I cannot give you all the information you need and you should consult a reliable counsellor or HIV/AIDS doctor so that you get all the support and information you need. Another good source that can be a great help is a network of HIV positive persons in your city. For your self I would suggest that you try a live a healthy and regular life with adequate nutrition, physical exercise and rest. Do not neglect any illness, no matter how mild and always seek treatment. One last suggestion, do not rush into taking anti-retro viral drugs. These drugs should be saved for when you need them, Generally I do not suggest that they are started unless the CD4 cell count falls below 200.