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HELP! Just diagnosed ...told I have AIDS

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jughead:

Hi everyone...

if you've read my previous posts you know I was diagnosed HIV+ June 17 and have been waiting first for a Dr appointment and now for my bloodwork... I just got a call from my social worker at the clinic who told me my CD 4 count was low and that my viral load was high... I said "does this mean I have AIDS?" and he said yes... I asked if I could come see the Doctor sooner than my scheduled appointment (another week and a half)... and haven't heard back from him yet...

I'm already being treated for thrush and had shingles a few months ago before my diagnosis

I'm numb and suddenly feel cold... Is it normal to be given news like this over the phone? Other than depression, sadness, I don't feel physically sick... I'm really scared...

Jughead



Miss Philicia:
Yeah, I was told that over the phone (15 years ago).  I was even told my actual HIV test result over the phone.

So how long until your actual doctor's visit?  I guess I'd just advise that you try to busy yourself until then -- have you told any friends all this news?  I found it helpful to go out to dinner with someone who knew the first couple weeks of my "HIV news."

At least you've already gotten treated for thrush and shingles, so you've crossed that bridge even though you weren't sure what was causing it at the time.

I know that you said that you're in therapy for bi-polar issues.  I will assume you take medication for this already, but I just wanted to make sure that your prescribing doctor knows what events you are going through right now to make he'll be on the same page as your HIV doctor, as obviously you will go on HIV medication soon.

Short story:  lots of us on the board have begun our HIV journey with an AIDS diagnosis.  All it means is that you have more work to do at the beginning than some other HIV patients, so you just have to be attentive about things.  It also eliminates any of that "when do I begin HIV med" stuff that others dillydally with for years.  HIV treatment in the year 2008 is quite good, and you should be fine.

And, of course, you have this on-line forum to research and use when you need to vent, but I'd advise being prudent as you digest HIV information on the internet.  It's VERY easy to overdo it with all that.  Take baby steps with all of that and just get used to things mentally.

jughead:
Hi Philly and thanks for the quick response...

I've told one very close friend who is also POZ ( he actually called this one when he found out about the shingles and thrush)...and I've told my therapist... My mental health MD knows about my status too...

I see what you mean about the internet and HIV... and how too much information sometimes can overwhelm you...

I'm still numb and just wish I could cry but "it ain't happening"... maybe that's a good thing?

When you say "more work"  I think I know what you mean...I'm just worried that the meds are going to make me sick and put me in the hospital or something...

I'm just afraid period...

Thanks for listening,
Jughead

Miss Philicia:
I wouldn't worry about reactions to HIV meds until you actually have one -- many people have little to no bad reactions, and find them tolerable.  For example, in my 15 years I've probably taken 80% of the meds currently on the market, and if you feel anything it's generally during the first month and it's just stuff like headaches (aspirin has always made it go away for me), mild nausea, and diarrhea.  All of these things have either been moderate, or offset with over the counter things.

I'd say one of the best first lessons to have is to not worry about things until they happen.  Seriously.  And since you're in therapy already if you find yourself over worrying I'm sure your therapist can help you with some cognitive behavioral stuff to address anxiety issues, and there are also good meds for that.

And yeah, I had a few crying sessions when I got the news but they were quite limited.  Most of the time I was just too overwhelmed to cry.  Feel free to PM me if you need to.

woodshere:
Philly has given you great advice!!  What I would add is on the personal side and sort of a note of encouragement.  I was diagnosed in Mar, 2006 and found myself with the "dreaded AIDS" diagnosis.  I started meds immediately. Fortunately I have suffered none of the short term side effects and they have done their job.  My cd4 count was slow to rise, so if yours doesn't jump by leaps and bounds don't be to concerned.  The important thing is that your VL goes to undetectable in the first 3-6 months and that your CD4 count and % improve over the long run.  I went undetectable in about 4mths and have remained so and my last CD4 count was 580.

One bit of advice concerning your meds.  Be sure to talk with your doctor about which medications will fit into your lifestyle the best in terms of adherence.  What my dr. originally suggested would have posed some adherence problems for me so we chose a different set of meds.

Best to you,
Woods

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