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Author Topic: Introduction & Some Questions  (Read 3683 times)

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Offline babygirl0588

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  • Posts: 4
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Introduction & Some Questions
« on: January 28, 2009, 01:56:16 PM »
Hello everyone! This is going to be long because I tend to write a lot, lol. I am new here and overall new to the whole being HIV+ thing as well, so I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as well as ask a few questions.

I was told that I am HIV+ about six weeks ago (right before Christmas), and I am only 20. I found out after my annual OB/GYN appointment where I decided to get tested, "just to be sure," since I had never been tested for STDs before. I wasn't expecting anything at all since I don't live a promiscuous lifestyle. It was such a shock and surprise to me, and of course it was very hard for a few weeks. I've never used drugs, had a blood transfusion, and only had unprotected sex with two men in my life who also only had a small amount of partners. But of course, that's another story for another day about how it only takes one time and one person for this to happen, but I'm we all know that now. I was crying all the time, fearing death, etc.

But I am naturally an outgoing, positive, optimistic person, and I always try to see the good in every situation and make the best out of it. So the day after I got my results, I went to a counselor and immediately began educating myself on the virus. I also began telling my family and close friends within the first few days, so I had a strong support system from the beginning. Thankfully, none of my close friends that I have told treated me any differently, and are still comfortable with sharing drinks with me, sleeping in the same bed as me, etc., just the way they should be. They haven't changed at all, except to just be shoulders to cry on or people to talk to. My parents are the only ones who have been taking some weird precautions and even though they have accompanied me to different counselors and doctors to learn more about the virus, but I blame it on the fact that this disease is fairly new, and fortunately my generation has received better education on the disease, and my parents are probably stuck in the 1980's mind-set.

Anyway, I had my first appointment with my doctor on January 2nd, where they reviewed my blood work with me. My CD4 count is 374, and my viral load is undetectable. I did not start any medication. This has helped me to really be positive about everything and return to my normal self because I was really expecting the worse, and obviously having an undetectable viral load is the best. Everyone who has seen me has noticed that I am a lot happier and have been acting like my old self these days, as opposed to how I was acting when I left school around Christmas time.

It still is scary though. Today I cried for the first time in nearly three weeks about this, and today for some reason, I have been scared. I know this is probably normal. Besides, I was doing very well emotionally/mentally for someone who just found out, and still probably am doing better than most who are newly diagnosed. I'm going to get blood work done again at the end of March because I was told that I only need to return every 3 months to monitor things, for the time being anyway. I think that's what makes me uneasy... I'm not able to monitor it as frequently, and I'm afraid that I'll go back in March and my CD4 count will drop incredibly and my viral load will be through the roof. I don't know how realistic that fear is, but it's still there, ya know. This is all still new to me, no matter how positive and optimistic I try to be, I can't do it 100% of the time. There will be days where I will be fearful and cry.

I also feel that 374 is so low. Everyone says 500-1500 is normal. I want to start medication to make it higher. But then I guess I don't need to start medication since my viral load is undetectable? But what would happen if my viral load remains undetectable but my CD4 count drops below 200? And continues to drop? They can't just let it drop forever, even if my viral load were to remain undetectable. Right?

Also, another question that I have is in regards to dating. I am an attractive girl who has a great personality and a good head on her shoulders and is always nice to everyone, and I've never had any problem dating. In fact, it's usually been the opposite, I have too many people trying to pursue me at a time. (And trust me, I'm not trying to brag about myself because I would never talk about myself like that, but I just trying to give you a better idea of the situation.) Anyway, now I feel that I have a huge problem. I realize that although I haven't had to deal with it yet with my friends, I know the stigma is still there. I know that someday, whether it's sooner or later, I will come across someone who may treat me differently or say nasty things to me for being HIV+. And even though my friends say they would date an HIV+ person now (especially with all the education I have provided them with), most of them have admitted that they wouldn't have in the past, no matter how great of a person the person is. And some of them I'm sure, even with all they've been able to learn about it, probably still wouldn't because it is still known as a "deadly," "scary," "gross," etc., disease to many people.
 
So here is my situation - At the time of my diagnosis, I had been casually seeing this guy, but it was nothing serious. We had hooked up only a few times (2-4) in the course of a semester, and every time we used a condom. (We also have been friends for the past 2 years, but not close friends. So it wasn't just some random guy.) However, when I found out what happened, I immediately called him. I was uncomfortable telling him exactly what the situation was at the time (I had known about my diagnosis for only 2 days, so it was still very hard for me to tell people), but I told him that he needed to be tested for STDs. He called me when he went to the doctor, and his doctor asked to speak with me to find out my diagnosis, so they could know what to look for, so I told her. He came back negative for everything. I think he knew it was something serious because of the way I told him and how I was acting, my Facebook statuses/instant message away messages, the comments from my friends on my Facebook, how my friends were treating me, etc., like I think he could tell that this wasn't just some STD that I could take medication for and get cleared up. We went on winter break 5 days after I found out. During winter break, he had called and texted me a few times just to see if I was doing okay, if I needed anything, etc. He even said that whenever I am ready to talk that he would be there for me because he felt that no one should have to deal with anything alone, no matter how big or small. We've only been back to school for one weekend at this point, and he called me this first weekend back, and he came over to my apartment and hung out with me and spent the night. I was a little surprised by this because even though he has always been a genuinely nice guy, I feel like he might have some idea as to what this is because of how serious I made it sound, and I just felt like he wouldn't want to be with me because of it.

So here is my question. Of course, he might have some ideas, but I have not actually told him exactly what it is. He knows it's a very serious STD, but that's it. He may have no idea at all, and I know he deserves to know, especially before we decide to have sex again. When would be the right time to tell him? Now? Or should I wait until we are officially in a relationship, in the beginning of it? What have been your experiences with this kind of situation? When is the right time to tell someone? (Because I'm sure you all know my fears with this... I don't want to lose a great guy, I risk him telling a bunch of people that don't need to know my business if things don't work out, etc.)

Well, feel free to comment on any or all aspects of what I wrote or to just say hello. Thanks for reading my novel, lol. I look forward to reading more of the posts here and sticking around.

tendai

  • Guest
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009, 09:39:20 AM »
Hie babygirl. sorry about your diagnosis and welcome to the forums. it sounds like u've got a great attitude and a great support system and are handling your diagnosis well.  i've had this for almost 4 years now but im not on meds yet. your numbers seem good and if yor doc thinks its not time for meds i guess he's correct. i've always been terrified when i get my bloods done, psyching myself up to start meds then hoping i dont have to. i dont know much about the numbers though someone who knows better will definately answer your questions.
i just wanted to throw my 2cents about the dating. disclosure is so tricky soemtimes, it can go either way, just be sure this is someone you can trust not to blab to all and sundry when u decide to tell him your status. i've found it eliminates a lot of stress and guilt when i disclose before i sleep with someone i want to have a serious relationship with..good luck and stay blessed

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,893
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 03:37:03 AM »
Hey babygirl,

Welcome to the forums, and sorry about your diagnosis.

It seems you've gone through a bit - it's Ok to feel scared, we all do. The point is to pick up from where we were before and carry on regardless. You sound like you're under proper medical care, which is very important, and it's good to hear that you could tell your family and friends and they're supporting you. You'd learn that it's not a blessing that many of us have.

As for now you'd just keep going back for consultation; a CD4 of above 350 is nothing to worry about, in particularly you have an undetectable viral load. The numbers will jump around a bit but your doctor can spot a trend. So I wouldn't even think too much about it, and just listen to your body and tell your doctor whatever problems/issues you maybe experiencing.

And the "boyfriend" - each of our situations are different. He does sound like a nice friend but the I believe the bottomline for all of us is to protect ourselves first. What I mean is - if you're not sure what he might do (telling other mutual friends, making a scene on your facebook, etc), gently and slowly test the water before you make a decision to tell him; please make sure that you're absolutely ready and don't do it just because you feel that you cannot loss him.

So I guess what I am saying is.. take your time, or make sure you trust him enough to also protect you.

Wish you the best, Shaun
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline lusopt

  • Member
  • Posts: 61
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 12:04:42 PM »
HI, like you i found i was HIV+ in NOvember 2008, wish i could have had your attitude, i was really really down, and im still am. Listen, you should think better before telling someone that you have HIv, i would only tell if i was in the middle of starting one relationship, but i would be sure that the other person really loves me and has the strengh to deal with it, if its not easy for us, imagine for someone who is out of this reality...

Let things flow, educate yourself first, learn more about this fuc.ked disease, so that you can educate others around you, dont go telling everyone just yet, in a few months you wont feel that need anymore, be sure before you tell, this is somthing bombastic, a great new, something hard for someone who knows about your status to keep it for him/herself.

About your numbers im not expert, but trust your doctor, he knows what he is doing, if you dont trust, then just go look for someone else, its your health, its your life, the much your learn, more certains you will gain for what you must or should do.

One other thing, i understand your fear, u look beautifull you say, and u are scared that people will run once they know your status, well they dont need to know, unless its something serious. I work as a model, shape and beautty are important to me as well, a cute guy gets a cute girl, a cute guy gets the cutest guy, or the cutest girl get the other cutest girl, its a strange place, but the main thing is, that they dont need to know nothing, if you take all the precautions with them.

Above all this, enjoy your life, dont miss your appointments with doctors, and things will be great for you, luckly, today we have lots of meds to help us.
15/11/06: HIV-
28/10/08: HIV +
- No Meds -
18/11/08: CD4 -650 (.......)  / -17.500 VL
01/03/09: CD4- 540 (19,6%) / - 2090 VL
17/07/09: CD4 -603 (20,1%) / - 5040 VL
27/10/09: CD4 -627 (21,5%) / - 10.896 VL
25/03/10: CD4 -609 (23,9%) / -11.602 VL
12/09/10: CD4 -555 (........) / - 55.500 VL
21/04/11: CD4 -466 (17%)   / - 50.339 VL
01/10/11: CD4 -375 (19%)   / - 73.058 VL

Started, Epzicom and Sustiva
01/02/12: CD4 -298 (23%)   / - undetectable

Offline babygirl0588

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  • Posts: 4
  • Live. Laugh. Love.
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 02:55:16 AM »
Thank you all for your comments and answers! I really appreciate it. (Also - I've received a few PMs, and I can read them in my email, but for some reason I can't open them on this website to reply? It has an error message every time I try to access them here, so I apologize for not getting back to you.)

As far as telling people - No, I am not going around telling the world. I am very involved in student organizations at a large university, so I have a very large circle of friends. However, I have only told my absolute closest friends and my parents, you know, these are the people that know everything about me, and I know I can absolutely trust. I don't have the need to tell people; I just told the closest people to me right after I found out because I needed their support in the beginning.

At this time, I more so have the desire rather than the need to tell people because I am in a sorority of over 100 girls (in addition to other student organizations that have high numbers) in a metropolitan area where there is a high percentage of new HIV/AIDS infections. I have realized that it is not really something discussed or realized on most college campuses (like I had no idea HIV/AIDS was such a huge problem in this area until this happened to me), and it is a very real issue that needs to be discussed, and people need to be educated on prevention, getting rid of the stigma, and the disease overall. It is something that most people believe will never happen to them, and they need to realize that it is a very real possibility. They see lecturers talk about it, see it on TV, read it in a book, but they don't realize it can happen to someone just like them.

However, I am very busy with other aspects of my life. Also, I have not yet thought about how I would handle people who would view what I have to say negatively and view me in a different light once they hear I am HIV+... which I know would definitely happen. So because of that, I am abstaining from telling ANYONE new until I know that I would be 100% ready to deal with that and the risk of other people finding out, or if I ever will be 100% ready to deal with that. I may never tell anyone else. Who knows.

As far as disclosure in relationships, it's more of an issue of my personal values. I understand I don't have to tell anyone. Like I said, I am not telling everyone, and there is no need to tell every single potential boyfriend. However, there is sex in relationships, and my personal value is that I feel before I engage in sexual activities with a new partner, I must tell them my status. I would have wanted someone to do the same for me, and I still would want someone to tell me if they have anything. I just don't want to wait too long to where we are already in a serious committed relationship, then they feel betrayed and lied to because I was "keeping a secret," or wait too long then get dumped and end up really hurt because too many feelings are already involved. But then I also don't want to tell them too soon before I can fully trust them and know they aren't going to spread it. So yeah... I just don't know when's the right time. I guess it all is really situational.

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,893
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 04:19:55 AM »
Hey babygirl,

I can tell from your writing that you'll deal with it just fine.

As for your PM, just post more one time in the open forums and you'd be able to receive and send in your private mail box.

Best of luck, Shaun
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline welligotit

  • member
  • Posts: 1
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 01:13:56 PM »
hi, i too tested positive nov 08. you have great numbers. my viral is at 3800. you tested positive, but have no viral. are you sure your hiv positive. did you get a western blot? your cd 4count is low,so you would have a viral. i think.

Offline aliveinla

  • Member
  • Posts: 247
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2009, 08:36:03 PM »
I was wondering about the same thing...

hi, i too tested positive nov 08. you have great numbers. my viral is at 3800. you tested positive, but have no viral. are you sure your hiv positive. did you get a western blot? your cd 4count is low,so you would have a viral. i think.
4/24/07: Last tested Neg
1/22/08: First tested Poz
1/30/08: CD4 393; 28%; VL: 44k
3/18/08: CD4 218; 26%; VL: 222K
4/24/08: CD4 402; 26%; VL: lab forgot
7/22/08: CD4 405; 25%; VL: 6,780
10/15/08: CD4 340, 26%; VL: N/A
2/4/09: CD4 394, 26%; VL: N/A
Jun 09: CD4 300, 25%; VL: 4000
Oct 09: CD4 324, 23%, VL: 10K
11/22/09: started Atripla
11/20/11: CD4 405; VL: UD

Online Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2009, 09:46:17 AM »
Unfortunately, "welligotit" doesn't  have it. The unfortunate bit isn't that he didn't test positive, but that he's lying about it. This person has tested negative out to six months and has posted this information on this (under another username) and other hiv forums. He's now banned.



It's totally possible to have an undetectable viral load yet be hiv positive. People who are like this are usually long-term non-progressors (LTNP) and can also sometimes be what's called "elite controllers". You can do a forum search to find more information on this and also find members who are LTPNs and/or elite controllers.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...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 komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,893
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 12:35:31 AM »
Now I feel like a total fool.. ::) Thanks for putting on a stop to this silliness...
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline babygirl0588

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
  • Live. Laugh. Love.
Re: Introduction & Some Questions
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 10:55:48 PM »
Of course, myself and a few close friends, have had the thoughts of, "Hmm. Maybe I don't have it." Because yes, my viral load is undetectable, and of the very small number of men I have been with, they came back "negative." And I haven't done any drugs or done anything else that would put me at a risk. But there was an Elisa test and Western Blot test done, so unless something crazy happened, I do believe I am positive. Plus, I've learned that you can't trust anyone really, and these guys that claim they are negative might be lying as well. I'm over it. There's no point in dwelling on why I got this, where it came from, who I got it from, etc.

Also, I have heard these terms from my doctor (LTNP & elite controllers). I will search more on it because I am not all too familiar on this. Thanks for the information!

 


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