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Author Topic: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared  (Read 4255 times)

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Offline moskimo

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i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« on: April 04, 2009, 02:42:46 PM »
i tested positive in january with a cd4 count of 750,then on the 15th of march i developed these painful rashes,when i got to the dr he said i had shingles,i was tested again and the result was the same but now my cd4 count was 157, i was scandalized.three days later i did another cd4 count and it was 135,at this point i was sick and dont have any iota of apetite and i was loosing weight fast.Then my doctor announced that its time to start medications,i ve heared wierd stories about the side effects of these drugs and now as i am about to take the plunge,i need advice fast.i ve also learnt that there is no going back once you are on the drugs,please i need advice on this issue so that i will be better prepard to handle it,i ve always been scared of pills,again most of the people here in africa said the the drugs kills more poeple than the hiv virus does.is this truth help please.

Offline Ann

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2009, 03:51:42 PM »
Hi Moskimo, welcome to the forums.

Don't base your "when to start" treatment decisions on blood taken while you're ill with shingles. It's common for CD4 counts to go down when one has shingles - I know mine did. They went right back up after I fully recovered from the shingles.

Your CD4 was fantastic in January - you can wait until you've got another blood test under your belt after you're feeling better. You're very likely to see a CD4 rise.

Read through the Lessons. Scroll down a bit to the Lesson Index on the right and check out the ones about starting treatment.

Talk this over with your doctor. It's also YOUR decision when to start meds. You're the one who has to take them, not the doctor, so your input is also valid.

Let us know how it goes.

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 J.R.E.

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2009, 04:22:31 PM »
Hello Moskismo,

I agree with Ann. Maybe a few more blood tests before any decision is made. You were only diagnosed in January.

I was diagnosed positive in 1985.  My first case of shingles was in 1989. ( and I contribute that more to stress than anything else.  In 1998-99 my t-cells were in the 900 range.

I also believe you will see an increase in your numbers (t-cells)


Take care/don't stress----Ray
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 6/4/14,  t-cells are at 423, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 13% 

  
 62 years young.

Offline positivmat

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 11:47:00 AM »
I tested positive in January 09 too.  My tcells were lower at the initial test.  I was sick at the time as well.  My doctor and I discussed medication.  He offered me medication, not taking meds and he even found a clinical trial for me.  We discussed the options.  I was happy to go on meds (atripla) because i have a negative partner and was worried about getting my viral load down to reduce his risk.  My main concerns were about whether I would be able to commit to the meds schedule, possible side effects, possible long term issues from medication and not knowing to what level my tcells would have recovered if i didn't start the meds. 

This new study about starting meds early reinforces my belief that i made the right choice.  I hope to stop the virus from damaging my body more.  But I definiltely wonder what the long term effects of the meds will be on my body.  The initial side effects (of atripla) were not so hard to overcome.  I do still have night sweats which are much lighter than they were before meds.  I wake prematurely now in the early hours of the morning.  The meds are very expensive.  But I am very happy with reducing my viral load from 800,000 to 2,993 after first 4 weeks and raising my tcells from 325 to 544.  My doctor said that he would have not let me go below 200 tcell count without highly recommending that I go on meds.  I felt that the important thing was to learn as much as I could and get myself as comfortable as possible with my decision before i committed either way.

Be well,
Matt

Offline moskimo

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what are you telling me
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 03:50:18 PM »
 Hi Ann tell me what do you suggest i do as regards my treatment,i cant imagine myself taking pills everyday for the rest of my life,please people isnt there gonna be a break of lets say six months or more.what becomes of the virus when its load becames undetecables,does it stay dormant ar does it commence its multiplication. what if i want a baby,can i infect my wife (she is nagative) if my viral load is undect. ???please i need all these questions answered before i take the plunge.

Offline Ann

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 06:04:00 PM »
Moskimo,

The first thing I would suggest you do is slow down! If you're not ready to commit to taking the meds yet, you don't have to start right now. There is a very, very good chance that your CD4s will go back up now that you're over the shingles. You have every right to request that your doctor orders a few more blood labs for you before you decide what to do about meds. Meds are nothing to be rushed or forced into - don't let your doctor make you feel as though you have no say in the matter. It's your body - you DO have a say.

When your viral load becomes undetectable, that means it can't be detected in your blood, but it doesn't mean that the virus is no longer present in your body.

There are poz/neg couples who successfully have hiv negative babies, without infecting the woman, when the poz man's VL is undetectable. However, that alone is not a good reason to start taking meds before you're mentally ready to take them. Taking the meds are a big committment as they MUST be taken every day, at approximately the same time of day, or else you risk becoming resistant to one or more of the classes of drugs your combo is based on.

Please have a look through the Lessons found elsewhere on this website. They're written in plain language and easy to understand. Feel free to come back here and ask any questions that may arise while you read the Lessons.

Hang in there Moskimo, you're going to be just fine even if you decide to delay starting treatment while you get a better idea where your numbers are really at. Two lab results don't give you enough information, especially in light of your very good initial CD4 count and the lower count from bloods taken while you were ill with shingles. Hang in there!

Ann
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 06:05:33 PM by 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 moskimo

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2009, 02:55:21 AM »
Hello Ann moskimo here,i hope you are ok,i just went to see my doctor about cheking my present cd4 count before going into threapy but she said that the sooner i begin the therapy the better for me and that i stand a better chance of beating the virus because the drugs they have now is far better than the once of 5 yrs back.Hopefully the medications will arrive this week and i will take the first step,please i am still confused about the long term effect of these medications,the side effects et al,i ve accepted my condition and there is no going back,my doctor said that i was lucky to have known,some poeple are not that lucky,they only found out when it was too late.
    I have a girl friend right now and i ve not told her that i tested positive,she only knew that i ve been sick from maleria,what should i do,i dont want her to go through this mental torture, she is so scared of this virus and it always come up in our discussion,i told her time and time again that i dont have the virus,i didnt ever imagine that i will test positive.i lost my younger sister to aids in dec and my parents are still reeling from the lose, i dont want to die now at least for them , i ve vowed to live long enough to see the advent of a cure for this virus. here in africa its not like the first world where you have the best drugs available,here the cost of these medications are so great that a lot of people are dying from what has been termed a chronic disease.please tell me what you think.

Offline Ann

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2009, 05:32:33 AM »
Moskimo,

You must tell your girlfriend that she needs to be tested for hiv. Imagine the "mental torture" she'd go through if she is positive but doesn't find out until she falls extremely ill and has to be hospitalised. This can happen very quickly and without warning. Imagine the "mental torture" she'd go though when she finds out that you knew all along that she needed to test but didn't tell her. You HAVE to tell her and the sooner the better.

I have to say you sound rather selfish. You're talking about starting meds now because "the sooner i begin the therapy the better for me and that i stand a better chance of beating the virus because the drugs they have now is far better than the once of 5 yrs back." By not telling your girlfriend, you are not allowing her that advantage and chance to beat the virus. That's just NOT FAIR!

You also had some comments on this subject in the other thread where you admitted to not telling your girlfriend. Please read the responses you've had there as well.

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=26447.msg330497#msg330497

If you feel ready to start meds, by all means do. BUT - give your girlfriend the opportunity to make same choices concerning her health. Tell her she needs to test!

Ann
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 05:34:27 AM by 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 moskimo

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2009, 09:04:36 PM »
Dear Ann, thanks for your honest and candid advice,i ve told her that she needed to get tested,though she was scared of that but i know it must be done sooner or later.I am scheduled to begin my treatment on tuesday,still waiting for the drugs,but before that, i will like to take your advice to get my present cd4 count before taling the first pill,i am totally ok from the shingles but i lost about 8kg and its very noticable,people have started asking questions. i will keep you posted about what i finally decided.i am alone in this  and the people around my cant really understand what i am passing thro,, this is africa and the stigma is very strong.i really want to start  a family, what do you think

Offline HollyStar

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2009, 01:44:33 AM »
Hi moskimo,

I think Ann has some really good advice for you and I'm glad that you told your girlfriend that she needs to be tested. I don't know what medications your doctor has decided to put you on but I was also very scared about taking medications for the first time. I have learned that there really was nothing to be scared of. Sure, there were a few side-effects that were uncomfortable but they are pretty much gone. The fact that these medications are available is wonderful and even more wonderful that we get to stay alive because of them. Just make sure to take your pills consistently.

I hope to see you on here soon. And I'm very sorry about the passing of your sister.
Diagnosed  July 28th 2003

'I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.' -Diande Ackerman

'Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?' -Frank Scully

'If your ship doesn't come, swim out to it.' - Jonathan Winters

Offline Ann

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2009, 05:23:17 AM »
Hi Moskimo, I'm really glad you told your girlfriend - you did the right thing.

Something for you to consider - part of the reason we have to deal with stigma is because everyone hides their virus. The more we hide, the more we HAVE to hide. The more often people find out that it's people just like them  who get this virus, the more people with hiv will be accepted and supported. We are plain, ordinary, law-abiding people with hopes and dreams for the future, just like them

You're not entirely alone either, you've got us and now that you've told her, you've got your girlfriend. Go with her to get tested so she knows she has your support.

As for having children, yes, today it is totally possible to have hiv negative children. BUT FIRST - you must find out what the hiv status of your girlfriend is, because the way you go about having children will differ, depending on her hiv status. Either way, it is possible. We have several members here who are poz or have a poz partner with whom they've had hiv negative children.

Again, I'm glad you told your girlfriend, now support her while she goes through the testing process.

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 moskimo

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2009, 03:19:23 AM »
Thanks ann for your kind words,truly i dont know what or where i would ve been without this forum,this is the only place i ve been able to talk without fear,i will meet with my doctor later today and i will surely keep you informed on what we decided.but one thing is sure i will like to know what my present cd4 count is. in january,i was told that it will take more than seven years for my cd4 count to be compromised by the virus because they say the infection is relatevly new.My question is how and why is the shingles outbreak,i hear it can be triggered off by stress,assuming my cd4 count do rise up to 500, how am i sure that the shingles wont come back if i dont start the med.i am only seeking to know because i will like to be aware, i dont see myself dying as a result of this.i lost my sister on the 16th of dec to aids,the pain will be too much on the family if i should follow suit not even in the next ten years,i am the bread winner.i am carrying a very heavy and cumbersome burden on my head,the hopes and aspiration of many people,please ann do tell me it will be ok,that is the only thing i want to hear.I was in church on sunday and the priest said something about king solomon having  700 wives and 300 concubines,and yet he did not get aids,why did we come out at this time,what is our crime,i mean what offence did we commit to earn this dreadful and mind bending virus.remain blessed.moskimo
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 03:26:22 AM by moskimo »

Offline Ann

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2009, 07:23:05 AM »
Moskimo,

Hiv is NOT a punishment. It's just a virus. At one time, people thought people who had leprosy (now called Hansen's disease) were being punished, but now we know that it's just a bacterium. Hansen's disease is one of the most ancient illnesses in the world, yet effective treatments were only discovered in the 1940s. There are always going to be new diseases in the world, but that doesn't mean any of them are punishments. If you have a cow and that cow becomes ill, would you think it was being punished? Of course not. Same thing applies to humans.

Shingles are most often caused by stress - and it makes sense that hiv positive people are more prone to shingles as we are also more prone to stress. I had shingles while positive and recovered and still don't need the hiv meds - and I haven't had a recurrence of shingles either. You might also be able to stay off the meds for now, but you must give your body time to recover fully from the bout of shingles before you go basing your treatment decisions on your CD4s.

You caught your hiv infection early and yes, because of that you have every chance of being ok. Where hiv care and meds are available, a positive person has every chance of leading a full life. You must do your bit by taking care of yourself. Yes, you will be ok.

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 moskimo

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FINALLY THE DAY HAS COME..............
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2009, 02:44:33 PM »
Finally the day arrived for me to start my meds,in the next 30 min,i will be injesting for the first time the life saving arv,i thought that this day will never came,i just repeated my cd4 count and it stood at 135,so my doc you ve to start now so that you will be alive when the cure comes.i ve been waiting for the govt drugs for the past 3 wks but they are not here yet and my health is failing rapidly so my doc sugggested that i buy. i forked out 120usd for the drugs, efavirenz,combivir and purbac 480mg, these you will consume everyday for the rest of your life she said.according to her influenza leprosy,and tb killed millions,she said that she is optimistic that the cure will be here soon.i  always have this feeling that i wont have to do this for twenty yrs like most of the people,i cant see myself doing that,my prophesy is that the cure will be here soon,i dont know how but i  am optimistic that it will come to pass and in my time.
  As i am about to go into therapy,please pray for me people because i am wary of the side effects,im pray it wont be too bad.My younger sister died on the 16th of dec last year because she thought that God will save her from this virus,she prayed and fasted,but at the end she paid the ultimate price.For me, i ve resolved never again to be dismayed or cowed by this virus,i will take my meds and live as if today is my last, [/b] [/b] [/i]

Offline moskimo

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Re: FINALLY THE DAY HAS COME..............
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2009, 02:47:46 PM »
we the willing led by the unknowing are doing the impossible for the ungrateful,we have done so much for so long with so little,now we are qualified to do anything with nothing.

Offline moskimo

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2009, 03:26:21 PM »
this is day 3 into my therapy, i must confess that i am not the happiest man no earth,the side effects is mild but very evident,i feel tired and sleepy most of the time,infact the subtle way to describe my feeling is wierd! My doctor told me to expect the worst,i pray let this not go on longer than this.My promise is to adhere to the therapy,i know i will survive this,i really beleive that the almighty will protect my lineage from this dreadful virus.

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2009, 03:06:24 PM »
Stick with it, Moskimo.  Most of the short-term side effects will fade away in the days and weeks ahead.  If any remain after that, we can try to offer advice on how to manage them.


Offline jason35

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Re: i will start taking the drugs next week,and i am scared
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2009, 03:44:59 PM »
hi Moskimo

i started drugs last year and like you scared, for me there easy to take, the hardest part is to take them on time which is so important!! i cant say i had any side effectsa much except a little dry skin but that has cleared up!! best od luck with it and keep posting the guys here are great
never surrender

 


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