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Letters

Readers Sound Off

Readers Sound Off

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Silent and Feeling Safer My heart goes out to people like Matthew Cusick and Lorenzo Taylor, who have been either fired from a job or denied one because they are HIV-positive ['No More Tears,' May]. It is stories like theirs that reinforce the decision that I made not to be forthcoming with people in my workplace about having HIV. The reality is that the general public just does not know much about HIV'or those of us who have it'and people are quick to jump to conclusions or act based on bad information. It is hard enough financially, medically, etc., being an HIVer in this country without having to get out of bed every morning and show up at a place where you feel judged. Name withheld by request Atlanta Silent No More If research shows we can live longer, healthier lives under the care of an HIV specialist, then I see no need for any debate over whether it is important to have them or not ['Doctor-Patient Privilege,' May]. I say we advocate putting the credentialing process into action right away. Jane Walker via e-mail Out Loud All the Way You know, I have truly had enough of the propaganda scare tactics from both the right-wingers and the so-called liberals in this country who have nothing better to do than try to regulate what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom. Am I scared of a case of 'reinfection' ['Playing With Fire,' May]? No, not really. At this point in my life, having lived with HIV for more than a decade, I know I have a limited future. Am I going to let anyone else deny me any of my rights while I am still trying to live my life? Hell no! Name withheld by request New York City Not Another Warning! I admit that I can see how a person's temperament can affect their health if they were angry a lot or something similar ['You're So Sensitive,' April]. But just because you have HIV and you are shy? It seems like everything now can affect life with HIV. It is just like all those things we heard about through the '60s and '70s that caused cancer! Ben Adams Los Angeles What Does It All Mean? In 2002, when I was diagnosed as having AIDS, my T-cell count was 134 and my viral load was 189,000. Within eight weeks I had an undetectable viral load and my T-cell count went up to 224. Since then my T-cell count has risen by about 15 to 20 every three months'but my latest labs show a drop of 20. My viral load is still undetectable, though, at less than 50. Can one's T-cell count continue to decline while a viral load is undetectable? And would a change in therapy be warranted if they do? J. Vegas via e-mail [The editors reply: The short answer to your first question'whether a T-cell count can decline while a viral load remains undetectable'is yes. Contributing editor and physician Dan Bowers talks in this issue's Clinic column, on page 31, about how T-cell counts not understood in context can be confusing to many patients. As far as a decision about a treatment change goes, Bowers points out that an overall view of your lab results is what is important, since T-cell numbers can change for a variety of reasons. Be sure to have a good, open conversation with your regular physician about your concerns and map out a long-term treatment plan with him or her.]
30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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