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Author Topic: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!  (Read 3837 times)

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Offline sfpvguy41

  • Member
  • Posts: 115
Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« on: June 04, 2006, 08:18:28 PM »
Three and half years after testing positive, I made the decision to start meds.  While my CD4s were hovering above 350, my viral load was climbing.  But most importantly, I could tell the virus was doing a number on my body.  I needed naps every afternoon, and had frequent diarrhea.  Lost my sex drive, and was depressed.  I was getting sicker more often - little things but that had never been a problem before for me.  The guidelines say to start meds around 350, and my most recent labs actually had bounced up to 450+, but I just finally decided I was sick of it and ready to start.  Having an HIV- boyfriend also made me decide so I might be less likely to transmit to him (in the event of an accident).

I was very trepidacious about starting meds.  I had read all the side effects, and about the toxicity, etc.  Now, I'm really glad I started.  The only side effects I had were a rash I got all over my body, which took about 3 days to clear.  Also, I got headaches and dehydrated.  All that passed after 10 days or so, except I still need a lot of water!

I was prescribed Reyataz with a Norvir boost, Epivir and Viread.  5 pills once a day.  Started March 1, and never missed a dose.  Labs were as follows:

12/05:  CD4 459
          CD4% 29
          VL:  30,000 (but this had been bouncing as high as 95,000)


3/15/06:    CD4, CD4%:  (no count, the lab f*cked up)
           VL:  2200

5/23/06:  CD4:  581
              CD4%:  31
              VL:  85

I feel better and have more energy, more like my old self.  Less stressed out now that I know the meds are working.  I'm hopeful that my next labs will show undectable (although it's already close) and CD4% going up.

One reason I posted this is I seemed to get lucky, and have a badly replicating virus (75% capacity), and my system was fighting it off well enough that I really didn't have to start meds, according to the numbers.  But I really believe that just fighting the virus everyday takes a lot out of your system - it screws up your digestion, lowers your energy, and kills your sex drive (even though I had androgel).  So my decision to start was voluntary.  But I'm really glad I did now.  I suffer no side effects, and am starting to have decent workouts in the gym again (once in a while, but hey I gotta give my bod a chance).

I imagine there are no studies to talk about the damage to your body HIV does when you are infected but tcells are over 350 for an extended period of time.  So the guidelines just talk about starting once you're under a certain number.  They don't talk about how you feel, or what damage the HIV is doing to your body anyway even though you're still fighting it off reasonably well.

The reason for this post is there are a lot of people afraid to start meds.  Don't be.  At least speaking for my regimen, it's far better to be under treatment than not, once you start feeling it's getting to you.  We always hear horror stories, so this is one which (so far) has a happy ending!

Best of luck to all.

Robert
« Last Edit: June 04, 2006, 08:31:13 PM by optionsf »
Labs: (undetectable since 2005)
12/13: 634 cdr, 37.3%, 758 cd8, total chol 183, triglycerides 131
8/13: changed to Edurant from Reyataz
12/12: 828 cd4, 34.5%, 1078 cd8, total chol 192, tri 196
12/11: 787 cd4, 37%, 979 cd8.
9/11: 758 cd4, 38%, 944 cd8, und.
8/11 dropped norvir, incr reyataz to 400 mg
6/11: 621 CD4 CD4% 41, CD8 680! Undetectable. Creatinine and eGFR are ok now.
Switched from Truvada to Epzicom in late April 2011
AGT/AST and creatinine back to normal mid-April.
Cut Norvir from regimen.
Switched back to Reyataz/Norvir late Feb 2011
2/11: CD4 664 34%, CD8 963, diagnosed with osteoporosis, high AGT/AST and creatinine.
12/10: CD4: 676 CD4%: 34 CD8: 1012
Switched from Reyataz/norvir to Isentress 10/10
8/10: CD4: 731 CD4%: 40 CD8: 866
Diagnosed Sept. 2002 started meds May 2005.

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,156
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2006, 08:33:39 PM »
Hi There,

 Welcome ! Thanks for sharing. Starting the meds is a difficult decision to make, no doubt. I know it was difficult for me also, but once I started, I was glad I did. (didn't have much of a choice though !!)

Your numbers are improving nicely. Continued success...


The Best-----Ray 8)
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,396
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2006, 10:27:15 AM »
Hey Robert,
Welcome!

Personally, I think you made a wise decision to begin meds. I know it isn't an easy decision, but you were at what my doc calls the threshold stage when things could begin getting worse and should be monitored more closely.

The time to strike is when you are still relatively healthy, not wait until you are sick with a severely compromised immune system. It is easier to preserve your health than to rebuild it.

It sounds like the regimen is working for you. Gosh, once a day sounds like a dream.

Hang in there and, as Ray say, continued success.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline southmetro

  • Member
  • Posts: 20
Re: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2006, 09:52:23 PM »
If you think it's time to start meds and your doctor agrees, then it's time. Everyone has to make that call (with their doctor's and the guidelines help) for themselves... Good luck! Your numbers are great!
Pos 2/2004       
Date       CD4  % VL
02/05/04 411 27 277K
04/05/04 507 31 327K
05/03/04 528 32 81.5K
07/05/04 497 27 272K
10/06/04 401 30 109K
01/06/05 493 22 128K
03/07/05 607 27 217K
08/08/05 397 24 123K
11/28/05 345 25 47.8K
01/19/06 419 23 18.1K
03/06/06 371 28 70.8K
Started meds 04/28/06 Sustiva & Truvada
05/01/06 391 20 8090
05/31/06 450 20 131
06/08/06 VL 88
07/31/06 415 26 <50
09/21/06 574 30
11/16/06 498 32
02/12/07 609 35
05/16/07 532 28
08/13/07 652 34
11/0

Offline Jeffreyj

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,403
Re: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2006, 04:50:29 AM »
Congrats on the very brave decision to start your meds! I agree with Aztecan, I think it is a great idea! I know it's not an easy decision to make, and you are to be commended for taking a pro-active step! You should really be proud of yourself for taking action. The drugs are so advanced today. I'm glad to see that you are taking advantage of it. Way to go! You will do fine, I just know it!
Lots of Love,
Jeff
Positive since 1985

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,644
Re: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 12:55:50 AM »
Hi Robert.


I'm on the same combo as you.  It's a great regimen with minimal side effects and outstanding results.  I don't think you'll regret it one minute.

But I did want to let you know that there is a relatively new (I think it came out Nov, 2004) pill called TRUVADA.  It is a combination of Viread and Emtriva.  Emtriva and Epivir and very, very much alike.  My Dr. switched me over to the Truvada.  Not a big deal.  Just one less pill.

Keep in touch.

robert
..........

Offline sfpvguy41

  • Member
  • Posts: 115
Re: Recently Started Treatment and Happy!
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2006, 03:42:24 AM »
Thanks...yes I am going to switch to Truvada in place of the Epivir and Viread, if only for the lower co-pay each month!  My doc prescribed them separately up front because I was interested in being able to take treatment holidays in the future, since my virus has seemed to be less aggressive than some.  He felt Epivir was a bit better for this.  But the PA at the same office says they're too similar for it to matter.  I just wanted to get my results in for 2 labs to make sure everything stays hunky dorey before I change anything.  So that'll be in August...

Thanks for the post and thanks to everyone here for the support.
Labs: (undetectable since 2005)
12/13: 634 cdr, 37.3%, 758 cd8, total chol 183, triglycerides 131
8/13: changed to Edurant from Reyataz
12/12: 828 cd4, 34.5%, 1078 cd8, total chol 192, tri 196
12/11: 787 cd4, 37%, 979 cd8.
9/11: 758 cd4, 38%, 944 cd8, und.
8/11 dropped norvir, incr reyataz to 400 mg
6/11: 621 CD4 CD4% 41, CD8 680! Undetectable. Creatinine and eGFR are ok now.
Switched from Truvada to Epzicom in late April 2011
AGT/AST and creatinine back to normal mid-April.
Cut Norvir from regimen.
Switched back to Reyataz/Norvir late Feb 2011
2/11: CD4 664 34%, CD8 963, diagnosed with osteoporosis, high AGT/AST and creatinine.
12/10: CD4: 676 CD4%: 34 CD8: 1012
Switched from Reyataz/norvir to Isentress 10/10
8/10: CD4: 731 CD4%: 40 CD8: 866
Diagnosed Sept. 2002 started meds May 2005.

 


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