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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    769

    Default HIV Positive

    My best friend in the world was just confirmed HIV positive. He is a proud gay man and I love him with all my heart. I cried and cried when he told me. He has survived one hell of a lifetime already (leukemia, dad died of heart attack, cheating boyfriends) and for this to be added on top - well I fear for his sanity and his will to live.

    I am the only person he plans to tell. I am scared. His T-Cell count is around 450. I am not sure what this means. What can I do to support him, I know he is terrified. He is scared no one will ever love him again. He is scared to die. Its tearing me up inside to see such a vibrant person so sad.

    I am asking for advice on how to support my friend. Maybe insight on what his life is expected to be like from now on. I have no first hand experience with HIV and AIDS.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
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    5,001

    Default

    I'm sorry to hear this. Although I don't have personal experience I thought HIV was pretty treatable nowadays. What does your friends doctor say?



  3. #3
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    Jan. 4, 2008
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    He has started on medications and they were pretty pricey - around $500 to start off with. We both know that it is quite possible for him to live a healthy life for a relatively long time, but he also needs to stay healthy. Since he is just a year out from overcoming Leukemia, I am not sure what his immune system is like. He also has a cold that he cannot kick and he has lost a bit of weight recently.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 8, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Qc
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    Default

    HIV can be managed but it is still not curable. Low white cells count is not really good as it tells he could easily get sick.

    There is HIV 'help group' and phone lines and probably a lot of internet websites. (try avoiding the 'bare free' groups and 'lets all get HIv' ones...)

    He could (should) consult a psy. as well. not just because of that.
    And you can help him by listening and being there for him.
    And try not to be as scared as he probably is.

    Good luck.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2002
    Location
    The Cliffs of Insanity
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    3,992

    Default

    With modern medication your friend can live a "normal* life for quite some time. Just be his rock, the person he can turn to... HIV is no longer a death sentence, for example Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV years ago and medication has helped him maintain a normal life. {{{Hugs}}}


    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2008
    Location
    Greeley, Colorado
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    Default

    I also have a friend (also a proud gay man) who was diagnosed with HIV about 2 years ago. Once the initial panic from the diagnosis subsided, he's managed to live relatively normally. Sure, he's got a LOT of pills to take, but his health has not been adversely affected. Modern medicine is doing a great job of helping to prevent HIV from turning into AIDS.

    Breathe, relax, and try to be positive for your friend. It'll be ok
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2009
    Posts
    201

    Default

    I recently read an article that involved a man who's hiv was cured by stem cell therapy doctors were using to treat his leukemia. I think with proper treatment your friend has every reason to be hopeful. Good luck, he's lucky to have such a caring and concerned friend.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2002
    Location
    Berlin, Germany
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    2,537

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LvdSprtHorse View Post
    I recently read an article that involved a man who's hiv was cured by stem cell therapy doctors were using to treat his leukemia. I think with proper treatment your friend has every reason to be hopeful. Good luck, he's lucky to have such a caring and concerned friend.
    http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv...67_19563.shtml

    My husband completed residency at this hospital in Berlin, and knows a few of the involved physicians. Truly an amazing leap for the treatment/cure of HIV/AIDS, but not quite a promise for everyone infected.

    I wish your friend years of good health and strength in his future.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2000
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    I don't know where you live, but in my area there is a wonderful organization called Triad Health Project--they offer all kinds of programming and support for people with HIV. I'm sure there is something similar where you are, and if not there are national groups as well. Doing some research and offering to attend an event or two with him right now might mean a lot, since he is probably feeling completely overwhelmed. I would think that one of the biggest things these types of organizations could do would be introducing him to other people who are living with HIV, so that he can see that this is not quite the death sentence that it used to be.

    It's clear from the tone of your post that you are already a great support system for your friend, and just being there for him is probably helping more than you know.



  10. #10
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    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    Thankfully, HIV is not the early death sentence that it used to be. These days, thanks to advances in medication, MANY people live their full life expectancies with HIV. Best of luck to your friend.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  11. #11
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Default

    Your friend's first step should be to learn all he can about it. HIV is much more treatable these days, but he needs to take a proactive role in making sure he is managing his illness. Resources are out there for cost-effective meds -- learn about those as well. Jingles for your friend's continued health.

    You are being a great friend to be there for him. Another important way you can be a great firend is to gently make sure that he also discloses his HIV status to any future sexual partners.



  12. #12
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    Apr. 29, 2006
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    Default

    One of my very good friends from high school was diagnosed HIV positive 15 years ago. He is still doing great. Has a super job, travels all over the world and is (tg) fit and healthy.

    All the best to your friend.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2000
    Location
    Virginia
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    Default

    One member of my family was diagnosed in the 80s - back when it really was a death sentence, and usually quickly. Even WITHOUT these amazing advances in technology, he managed to live another 20 years before passing away from cancer.

    Best of luck to your friend. Theres a LOT of resources out there.
    ---
    They're small hearts.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2010
    Location
    Earth
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    Default

    I am so sorry.

    I have known many people diagnosed with HIV as well as AIDS. It is very hard, especially when you receive the news.

    There are many groups that work with the patient as well as friends and family of the patient to help with the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each person.

    I've done a lot of work with children who are either HIV positive or who have HIV positive/AIDS Dx'd mothers and fathers/family members. It is very heart-breaking, but I will say there are a lot of positive improvements in the past few years in terms of medicine.

    Again, I am so sorry.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2004
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    3,177

    Default

    I also have a good friend who has HIV. The diagnosis no longer means what it used to mean - he can live a full and healthy life. Support him as best you can



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2009
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    Often as not, the inside of an airplane
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    Default

    Another one here, with a transgendered friend who was diagnosed as HIV positive in the 90's (when it was virtually a death sentence).

    She and I are talking about going to Paris this year or next, for a few days if she can get the time off of work.

    Yes, lots of meds, and a lot of vigilance but it becomes simply a part of life.

    Warm hugs to your friend, and tell him "Yes, it can be just fine."

    ETA: How you can support him? BE NORMAL - He's your FRIEND who happens to have taken a hit - show him that you still love him, and nothing's changed in that respect. That might mean listening to a LOT of angry, hurtful ranting and god knows what else. Make it a practice to take deep breaths and remember, the fear is going to do a lot of talking.

    You also might consider getting yourself a councilor to help YOU cope with what you and your friend (who obviously loves you and trust you enough to be his confidant) are going through - you can't take it all on yourself without a little support too - <BIG HUGS>

    (See, most of us posting have already gone through the initial shock/grief stages, so we tend to forget how it feels when the news is 'fresh')
    Eternal Earth-Bound Pets Independent Contractor.


    All I want is to know WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHICKEN???



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2005
    Location
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
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    Default

    *hugs* HUGE jingles for your friend. That is a lot to deal with emotionally (leukemia then HIV in a year) You sound like a wonderful friend to have. I know there are definitely some resources for lower priced meds out there, as some posters have already mentioned. *hugs* Maybe look into a support group for friends/family of HIV positive? And let him know that you are there for him (as I'm sure you have) in any way that he needs.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2005
    Posts
    888

    Default

    I suggest going to this website and track it forever:
    http://www.hopkins-hivguide.org/q_a/...13&siteId=7150

    I have had several friends who are HIV pos. I am the legal caregiver for one of them, which is why I have felt responsible for learning as much as I can about HIV/AIDS. See if he can get on ADAP (google it.)
    He is starting off with a good CD 4 count. If he can get ADAP assistance for the purchase of his drugs he will be very lucky. People starting treatment with a high CD4 count like his can lead very normal lives.
    Also, for the future, know that there are a number of dating sites for HIV pos people. Life is not over. This is a great time to really learn about what being a good friend is. Educate yourself. Good luck.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 2000
    Location
    Decatur, GA
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    2,568

    Default

    I think that a medical diagnosis can be very traumatic for people and that some counseling is a good idea. If you go to your local community mental health center you should be able to locate at least some brief trauma counseling for your friend. In my opinion you are doing so much by just being present with someone while they experience something. If you feel it is appropriate suggest that your friend only engage in safe sex even with HIV+ partners because there are different variations of the virus and some respond to drugs well while others don't. I work as a counselor and one thing I remind myself when I want to cry when people tell me horrible things is to not crawl down in the hole with them because you can't help them out if you are down there with them. It helps.
    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
    ? Rumi



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2006
    Location
    Berryville, VA
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    Default

    I work in the ER (RN) and many of our pt's are HIV/AIDS positive. Honestly, cancer scares me a whole lot more than HIV/AIDS. Best wishes to you and your friend.
    Boarding for Show, Pleasure, and Retirement horses. www.LockeMeadows.com



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