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Newly Diagnosed...

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CallMeSid:
...I think!???

Prior to June 2007, my last HIV test was in the summer of 2006 and it was negative (as it had been for the prior 15 years).  In late June of 2007 when I went to my local anonymous testing center for my annual test, my fingerprick test produced such a faint line at the "T" mark on the dipstick that the counselor initially told me that I had tested negative and then when she looked again and saw the faint line, she wasn't sure.  Long story short, I went to my GP and had blood drawn for a confirmatory test (which he submitted under a false name because I am determined to keep this information out of my medical records as long as I can -- forever, if need be --and I paid cash).  The ELISA results (done in duplicate) came back as positive and the Western Blot result was labeled as "Positive" as well.  I got this news on July 5th.  The next week, we drew blood for CD4 results and VL.  They came back as 795 for the CD4's and an undetectable (<50) viral load.  I thought it was strange that my VL was undetectable since the absolute longest I could be infected is about 1 year.  (<-- If anybody has a comment on this point, I'm all ears.)  Anyway, I've done some reading since then and discovered that while the CDC guidelines would say that my WB results are "Positive", the American Red Cross guidelines would say that they are "Indeterminate" (my GP41 band was "Indeterminate" and not "Positive").  So, after doing some research and consulting online with a MD who answers questions on another web site, I'm going to have blood draw to do a "proviral HIV DNA" test in the next couple of weeks.  So, while there seems to be a small chance that I'm not infected, I'm thinking that I probably am.

I shared this news with a guy who had been a f***buddy when we had our first real "date".  We had planned but not yet had the date when I got the news.  I figured that this would be our first and last date.  I told him after we finished lunch and before we headed off to the movies when we were in a private space in the mall.  I was QUITE pleasantly surprised by his response -- he was not freaked out (and our activities had been rather low-risk for him anyway) and he thanked me for telling him and expressed concern for me and told me that he'd get tested and then said that we better get going or we'd miss our movie.  His fingerstick test was negative the next week and he'll go back and get tested in 3 months and then 6 months, but I think he's fine.  We're still going out and enjoying the process of getting to know each other (when I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes, but on our 3rd date, he said "I'm NOT going to NOT see you just because of this!" -- he's a good man).  I also told another f***buddy who I'd been seeing for about two years.  We had this conversation over the phone because the logistics were such that we wouldn't be seeing each other for a while and I wanted him to know what was up (especially since he has a partner).  Turns out he got tested back in March and was HIV-negative then and he'll go get tested again now.  Again, our activities were pretty low-risk for him.  I've sent him a follow-up e-mail (very discreetly worded of course) and left a voicemail message for him, but haven't heard back from him.    I'm thinking he may be mad at me because this news may have complicated his relationship with his partner.

So, other than these 2 guys who I felt I had to tell and my doctor and my doctor's assistant, I've only told one friend (a dear, dear, DEAR man who was once my therapist (years ago) but is now like a friend/favorite uncle/object of a schoolboy crush who lives 3,000 miles away from me).  He's been supportive (as I knew he would be) and he's knowledgeable about HIV and medicine (as am I due to my educational/work background and having lost friends to this disease back in the 1990's) but a part of me (based on NOTHING he's said, just my own feeling) thinks that I've really disappointed him by allowing myself to get in this situation.  For the time being, I've decided NOT to tell any other friends., including one of my best friends who is HIV+ himself.  Partly, I don't want to burden them, partly I just don't want to talk about it (especially since I have lingering questions about the accuracy of the diagnosis) and partly because I don't want to hear the questions along the lines of "How did this happen?"

Anyway, when I got this news about 7 weeks ago, I think I was in that weird "zone" that I've been in before when friends have been in crisis -- a very no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, let's-do-what-we-have-to-do sort of space where I sort of just push aside my emotions and pick up the pieces.  Now that the dust has mostly settled (still need to get this proviral DNA test done), I'm starting to get in touch with my very negative feelings about this diagnosis.  I forgot to mention that I just (last week) started a new graduate/professional program (I'm changing careers after 15 years of doing one thing, transitioning into a tangentially related field which has been one of my "maybe" goals for about 20 years).  I left my full-time job back in January and after a few months of taking a break am now (as of last week) a full-time student for the first time in about 10 years.  Back in July when I got those "positive" Elisa and WB results, I decided not to change my plans in terms of school, but today (it's been a bad day!) I've started wondering seriously if I'm not taking on too much?  I mean, part of me thinks that if this proviral DNA test comes back positive and confirms my diagnosis (in my mind), I may just drop out of school, sell the house and everything and climb aboard that "live fast, die [not so] young" train and drink, drug and chase dick for a couple of years before I decide that it's time to take a swan dive off of the Golden Gate Bridge.

(Yeah, I know, like Diamanda Galas said, "Brothers of blood and sisters of compassion, DO NOT GIVE UP THE FIGHT!")

Rambling...... sorry!  Sorry also if this should have been posted in the "Am I Infected?" forum.

Matty the Damned:
Hey Sid,

It's always a bittersweet thing to welcome a new member. I'm sorry you had to join us, but I'm glad you found us all the same.

Your ELISA and WB results are evidence irrefutable of your status and so you have posted in the right forum.

I look forward to seeing you around.

Fond regards,

MtD :)

Ann:
Hi Sid,

It is very possible that you are what's termed a "Long Term Non-Progressor" (LTNP for short) so don't throw your future away just yet - in fact, there's no reason to throw your future away regardless. You still do have a future and you're going to need that education to get a good job that will provide you with health insurance for the long-haul. And the only time you should be thinking of selling your house is if you're wanting to buy a new one. Don't make yourself destitute and homeless over this - you'll be needing your resources for a long time to come.

You might be interested in reading the HIV Testing Lesson and you also might want to run a forum search on both "LTNP" and "Long Term Non-Progressor". We have several LTNPs who are members and the subject gets discussed from time to time.

Please also read the Welcome threads that appear at the top of some forums - especially the one at the top of the Living With forum. You'll find information there to help you navigate the site as well as what conduct we expect from our members.

And as always, it's a bittersweet thing to say, but welcome to the forum.

Ann

xyahka:
Hi Sid (taken from your nick)

I agree with everybody when they say you don't need to throw your live away. The most important is that you are aware of your status now and starting from this point it will allow you to look after yourself. Don't change your plans about future, just addapt them. I am also planning to go back to University in some time (is going to be a bit boring but it is something i want to do  :o).

Perhaps there is lot going on your mind yet as it happened with all of us, but believe me this... there is no reason to give up. Hope to see you around and hear/read more about you while you keep on achieving your goals.

hugs,

Juan Carlos

CallMeSid:
Thank you for the welcomes and the encouraging words.  Ann, thanks for bringing up the LTNP/elite controller possibility.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that front.  I'm due for another CD4/VL level in January -- we'll see how that goes.  (Note to self:  I need to ask my doctor why we didn't do the CD4 %. the first time around.)

I've had a rough weekend.  Very depressed.  Didn't do any of the assigned reading for grad school.  Just putzed around and didn't even crack a book.  On a certain level, I'm afraid that I'm just giving up.  I've got to pull it together.  I realize that this is going to sound stupid, but my cats are 12 and 13 years old and I really feel like I owe it to them to stick around and keep them in the lifestyle to which they've grown accustommed.  I hope I can do it...

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