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Author Topic: Please help, need advice  (Read 1568 times)

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Offline Archer

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
Please help, need advice
« on: May 21, 2008, 06:56:27 PM »
Hello all.  This forum has been helpfull and I am glad to know I am not alone (even though sometimes it feels like it).

I am having a little issue with this and need some advice...I am a 31 y/o male and in the military.  I was diagnosed 6 weeks ago HIV positive.   Seroconversion occurred in Dec 07 I believe.  I have been disqualified from my particular job, but not kicked out of the military.  There is an opportunity (slight chance) at getting a waiver.  This has been the source of most of my stress.  I want to continue to work at what I am good at.

Initial blood work CD4 540 VL 100,000 and CD4 650 VL100,000 (one week later).  I had blood work again yesterday and waiting for those results.  My doctor wants me to start meds Epzicom and Lexiva (boosted).  He says having an undetectable VL will help me in getting a waiver because they will view it as being controlled. 

I have read many posts from these forums and my first concern is the side effects.  My first question is should I start meds?  (I am getting nervous reading all the posts on side effects)  Second question...which would produce the least Nero side effects as that will be the focus of my waiver request?  Third question...would it be better to skip starting meds early and accept the fact that I need find another line of work. 

Thanks for any help you can give with this.  God Bless.     

Offline Matty the Damned

  • Member
  • Posts: 12,160
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 07:38:55 PM »
Hi Archer,

Welcome to the Forums.

When to start medications is a question which has an infuriatingly different answer for each of us. I recommend that you take the time to read our Lessons on Treatment to kick things off.

Also you might find that this thread will get more answers if it's moved to our high traffic Living With HIV forum. I've asked the Moderators to take a look at that.

Be well, :)

MtD

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,358
  • 28 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 11:57:01 PM »
Hey Archer,

'Welcome to the forums. I also recommend perusing the lessons here. They are a great place to start.

Starting meds is a personal and very individual thing. Doctors have their guidelines, but if you aren't ready for them, the chances you will not adhere is greater, or so the stats say.

As far as side effects go, they vary from person to person. Remember, people rarely post threads when they are having no side effects, but do more often when they are having problems. So, don't let the propensity for negative side effects evident in many threads guide you away from meds.

Did your doc do the sensitivity test for Abacavir? Since that is part of Epzicom, it is usually part of routine tests done prior to starting the meds.

How about a resistance test to make sure you don't have any inherent resistance factors?  This also is usually done as a matter of course, so you may have already had both of these tests done.

At this point, even though your viral load is high, your CD4s are pretty good too. So, you still have some wiggle room.

In other words, the decision is up to you.

Oh, just so you know, I take boosted Lexiva and have had absolutely no problems from it. I've never taken Epzicom yet.

Let us know what you decide and how things are going.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 12:03:07 AM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline pacerintl

  • Member
  • Posts: 83
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 12:28:18 AM »
When you first start your meds the most important thing to know is where is the closest bathroom?

Offline Matty the Damned

  • Member
  • Posts: 12,160
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 12:36:17 AM »
Sez Pacerintl:

When you first start your meds the most important thing to know is where is the closest bathroom?

You know Pacer, I really don't think that kind of advice is terribly helpful. Why don't you leave the advising to those of us who have first hand experience with HAART?

Regards,

MtD

Offline Ann

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  • Posts: 27,947
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 04:30:40 AM »
Hi Archer, welcome to the forums.

I've moved your post because you'll get more responses here in the Living forum.

You might want to read through the Meds and Lessons sections of this website as well as the forums. If you read the Welcome Thread you'll find out what all this website as a whole has to offer.

The decision of when to start is a very personal one that should be made between you and your doctor. If I were you, I think I'd do some checks on just how true it is that an undetectable viral load would get you back into the job you want. Being so newly infected, it could be years yet before you actually NEED the meds and it would be a shame to start, only to find out it doesn't help you get back to your prior position.

Good luck!

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Ann

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  • Posts: 27,947
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 04:33:30 AM »
When you first start your meds the most important thing to know is where is the closest bathroom?


Pacer, what are you playing at? Considering that Archer states in his post that he's worried about side-effects, do you really think your comment would help? I think it would only serve to frighten him.

I agree with Matty on this one, Pacer. Maybe you should leave these types of questions to people who have first-hand experience with this stuff and who are actually hiv positive. OK? Thanks.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Archer

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 11:37:29 AM »
Thanks for the advice.  Mark, I have had those resistance tests and sensitivity test done.  My doctor said they were negative.  That was a great point about people not posting if they are fine (you hear complaints).  I have been going through the lessons just allot to take in.  Thanks Mtd and Ann for moving my post.  I'll check back with you when third set of tests are complete. 

Offline megasept

  • Member
  • Posts: 478
  • Steven here...
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 12:32:32 PM »
Hello all.  This forum has been helpfull and I am glad to know I am not alone (even though sometimes it feels like it).

I have read many posts from these forums and my first concern is the side effects.  My first question is should I start meds?  (I am getting nervous reading all the posts on side effects)  Second question...which would produce the least Nero side effects as that will be the focus of my waiver request?  Third question...would it be better to skip starting meds early and accept the fact that I need find another line of work. 

Thanks for any help you can give with this.  God Bless.     

Archer:  It sounds like you communicate well with your MD. That's important. Whatever your stress level, you are level-headed. Your first concern may be the side effects, but I suggest your first concern be your overall health; how to strengthen your immune system and survive HIV for decades. You CAN work and take meds. I was doing hard physical labor many years after diagnosis, and even that can continue while on meds (FYI: Most of those years I was untreated). Despite the lashings (I get that it came from the wrong messenger) over the "bathroom" comment, a nearby facility would make your life a lot easier on meds (I often worked hours between WC breaks).

The bottom line is what's best for you, overall. You don't need to have a crystal ball and answer questions like "Is my career over?" right now. Play it by ear, make short or mid-term decisions and let the rest evolve. It will be less overwhelming. BTW: I am back on meds now after a 7 year break. The side effects are manageable and my new treatment (Jan 08; Insentress/Truvada) appears to be effective. The time to go on meds is when you need them medically. Study up (as you are), talk about (like with Ann and so many others here), and figure it out with your Doctor (He has his medical criteria, so you don't need to hear mine). Then stick with your plan. Best of luck with all your present challenges!
 8) -megasept
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 12:35:44 PM by megasept »

Offline Peter Staley

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  • Posts: 1,337
  • Founder & Advisory Editor, AIDSmeds.com
    • AIDSmeds.com
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2008, 01:40:28 PM »
Glad you found us, Archer.  Welcome!

If you do decide to start treatment with Epzicom, please make sure your doc knows the following:

Epzicom should only be taken by patients who test negative for HLA-B*5701, a genetic mutation that greatly increases the risk of a serious allergic reaction to abacavir.

In other words, he needs to test you for this (it's a newly available test).  I'm finding most docs & patients start with Truvada instead of Epzicom, so you might mention that as well.

Our lesson on When to Start Treatment & What To Start With is here:
http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/WhenToStart_7512.shtml

Peter Staley
Founder
AIDSmeds.com

Offline Archer

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
Re: Please help, need advice
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 03:29:06 PM »
Thanks Peter and Megasept.  I have tested negative for HLA-B*5701.  Got my labs back CD4 460 / 33% / VL 74,000.  The percentage of overall WBC were down and my doctor said that's what caused the CD4 count to drop 200.  I am not concerned.  Feeling healthy.  I am going to start meds.  My waiver will be difficult because no one has ever received one for this particular job.  They are using old data or studies from the 80's to justify their position.  Hopefully the new studies that are being conducted on cognitive ability will help out.  But I think they are still a year away.  Now I will play the waiting game.  Thanks again.   

 


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