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Author Topic: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low  (Read 3438 times)

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Offline mikeme01

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Hey Everyone, im scared  :( i found on on May 5th i am HIV+ I was shocked scared and everything all wrapped up into one emotion, im the kind of person who does not eat or has not appitite when something i bothering me. I have only told 2 friends who are supportive. I saw my HIV doc last week and he took blood, then 2 days later i received a call from the nurse at the office to come in as soon as possible. It turns out my CD4 count is 62 or 64 (sorry i cant remember the exact one) i am soooo scared right now. Prior to finding out my HIV status, i felt perfectly healthy! now i feel tired, scared , drained , im having a hard time eating right now because as i said its one thing i dont do when im stressed. I know i need to reduce my stress and eat good and get lots o rest but im sooo scared about my CD4 count -- i dont get any of the other blood work back for another week and a half and im scred about that one too! i feel lost and scared. Considering i felt good, it shocked me to learn my CD4 was 62 or 64.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2009, 09:35:42 AM »
Hi Mike, and welcome to the forums though we're sorry for the circumstances that bring you here.  Like you, when I'm under undue stress my anxiety level goes up sharply and I find myself unable to eat -- it's totally not cool and I empathize with such a trait.

But yes, those are indeed quite low numbers and the recommendation will probably be to commence treatment with HIV medication quite soon, and I assume it's been a while (if ever) since you last had a negative HIV test.  But hey, look on the bright side -- you caught this before having an opportunistic infection and getting ill.  There are many of us who began this journey with low cd4 counts and now are doing quite well.  I started with under 200 and I now have been over 1,000 for the past two years, so it's quite doable if you take a long term view of it.  But you do have work to do, and clearing your head and controlling the mental side of your new diagnosis will be very, very important right now.  I hope that you will spend some time on these forums obtaining the moral support you need at this juncture.

Now, back to your appetite.  Of course, you know yourself better than anyone and if you feel your ability to eat is complicated by anxiety you may wish to bring this up with your doctor and hopefully they can help you -- there are separate medications one can have prescribed to level out anxiety levels.  Until that time, however, I might suggest fitting in something like Isopure which is a zero carb protein powder/meal replacement that is easily found in a bodybuilding store. 

Anyway, I'm wishing you the best.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline WillyWump

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  • your ramblings bore Yamaguchi Kitteh
Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 11:43:22 AM »
Hi Mike,

I know you are scared, we all were scared. It's ok to be scared but at the same time please KNOW that you are going to be OK. Yes, you have low CD4's but by no means does that mean you are going to die anytime soon! You will be fine, Yes, you are going to have to start HAART, but the meds are amazing and will get your VL to undetectable and your immune sys will reconstitute itself and your CD4's will begin to rise. Trust in your doctor, trust the meds.

I think the best thing right now is to understand that  you will get through this bump in the road and your life will return to normal.

Read through the posts here, there are alot of people who started with low CD4's and have now recovered to a normal range, hopefully some will be along shortly and can give you some sage advice on their experiences.


Hugs, Will
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline WillyWump

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  • your ramblings bore Yamaguchi Kitteh
Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2009, 12:01:10 PM »
Forgot to address the eating issue....

I think it might take a day or to to get through the initial shock/anxiety, at which time you will start to get your appetite back...but until then along the lines of what Miss P said you might consider some protein drinks...There is a drink called Muscle Milk which is pretty good and provides alot of nutrients you can find it at just about any grocery store and at alot of convenience stores, give it a try :)
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline mikeme01

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  • Posts: 4
Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 02:28:05 PM »
thanks for the advise! i have to say that i came across this site a few days ago and found many things on here that help put some fears at ease. I was given Sulfatrim because of my low CD4 count, and i do not go back to the doctor until June 10 for the results and my viral load count (which i am really scared of too) does anyone have any ideas as to what i should be doing right now besides eating good. I also take Atavan for my anxiety but because of so much fear that really hasnt helped with my appitite. Should i also be worried about my low CD4 count and going out as in possibly catching something when im out ... i hope thats not a weird question but there was a time when i never thought about anything like this and now that i have too even little things make me wonder..

Thanks so much again! knowing there is support from people going through the same thing or have gone through the same thing makes it just a bit easier to ease the fear

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 03:39:52 PM »
First of all, I'd suspect your viral load number will be quite high, so just go into it expecting it.  Once you go on HIV meds that should fairly quickly be controlled over the course of several months.  Otherwise, yeah I'd suspect it might not be a great idea to go out for a 12-hour dance marathon in a sweaty, badly ventilated club and do a couple hits of ecstasy, but as for normal day to day stuff I'd see no reason to change anything.  Anyway, your doctor appointment is in 10 days.  Sulfatrim is to prevent PCP pneumonia and that's the primary OI at a cd4 count that low, so you should be fine in that respect.

So you've been on Ativan previous to this HIV diagnosis?  If so then I will assume that you've already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, correct?  If you're just popping those and not engaging in one-on-one congnitive behavioral therapy I'd recommend doing so, because anything like that you were already dealing with has the possibility to become more severe once you layer on a HIV diagnosis.  Also, have you checked out what support group resources there are in your area?  The other thing I'd recommend is to not overdose on scary internet based research about HIV, at least at this point.  You're already dealing with enough mentally and that might just make things worse.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 04:16:29 PM by Miss Philicia »
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline BM

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Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009, 09:40:53 PM »
Hi Mike. Like you, I was diagnosed with a very low CD4 count (78) last year. By the time it came for me to start my meds, it had dropped to 37. I also had a very high viral load (1.1 million), and PCP pneumonia. The main thing to focus on is that you've caught this in time before you have to be hospitalised.

Like you, I was worried about catching things in social situations. The main problems relating to having such a low CD4 count are conditions that will develop just as easily indoors as out. Keeping your hands clean when you leave the house by using an alcohol hand sanitizer is always good idea (I like the Cuticura one: http://www.cuticura.co.uk/).

Here's some advice I was given by my doctors (for while your CD4 is below 200). These are just common sense measures for avoiding things like diarrhoea and stomach upsets.

Boil your drinking (tap) water continuously for one minute, allow to cool and store in the fridge. Discard any unused water after 24 hours. use the water for making ice and brushing your teeth.

Wash raw vegetables and fruit. Make sure everything you eat has been prepared hygienically and cooked thoroughly. Discard out-of-date foods without question. (I also avoided eating out and pre-packed sandwiches/salads while my CD4 was low.)

I've been positive less than a year yet I can honestly say things get better with time! Have a good cry, talk with people you can trust, and ask your doctors lots of questions. There are many wonderful people on here who all know exactly what you're feeling right now and who certainly helped me 10 months ago when I was where you are now.

Most important of all, don't forget to smile every now and then.  :)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 09:42:27 PM by BM »

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009, 09:52:13 PM »
Hi Mike

Welcome to the forums.

Just thought I'd pop in and say that I had a CD4 count lower than yours three years ago -- I was sick too.  Today my CD 4 count is in the normal range, although the CD4 percent still has a ways to go.  You can see the details in my signature line at the bottom of this message.

It's good you are on an antibiotic, that should ward off pneumonia, but you are right that you should take care of yourself.  When your immune system is quite weak you can get sick without even realzing it, so now is the time to do all those healthy things you know you should do anyway, but maybe have skimped on a little...

These include hygiene and handwashing, wearing gloves to change the pet litter (or even better getting a friend to do it for a while), avoiding potential sources of infection, washing food, etc.  And moderate exercise, good nutrition and lots of sleep.  Do what you can not to stress out, whether that is yoga, pills or therapy.  And don't be afraid to ask your doctor for help.

After you've been on the medications for a while your immune system should get stronger and you can go back to your old habits.
But for now ...
           take care of yourself.

Assurbanipal

5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline mikeme01

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  • Posts: 4
Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2009, 09:35:09 PM »
I went to my HIV Doc today (he squeezed me in) because of what i now know is thrush - i was given medication for it; however, the scary part is since my CD4 is 62 he said i am classified as having AIDS - i am freaked out!!! i see him next week for a scheduled appointment and he said he will then prescribe me meds -- im freaking out with the AIDS "word" while he said i will be ok -- i cant help having all of these emotions back again and the what ifs... im not sure what i should feel, think or do right at this moment  :'(

Offline Assurbanipal

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  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2009, 11:53:11 AM »
Mike

Well, AIDS is a pretty frightening term for most people because of all the associations we have with it.


And it is ok to recognize that fear and to vent. 

But most of the worst associations are with untreated AIDS.  You and your doctor have already started treating AIDS with the Septrim and soon you will go on medicine to stop the virus itself.

 Its not necessarily going to be easy, but if you work with your doc you will be fine.

And you can always vent here with us

Be well
Assurbanipal
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 10:46:55 PM »
I went to my HIV Doc today (he squeezed me in) because of what i now know is thrush - i was given medication for it; however, the scary part is since my CD4 is 62 he said i am classified as having AIDS - i am freaked out!!! i see him next week for a scheduled appointment and he said he will then prescribe me meds -- im freaking out with the AIDS "word" while he said i will be ok -- i cant help having all of these emotions back again and the what ifs... im not sure what i should feel, think or do right at this moment  :'(

AIDS is not different than HIV except by 1 t-cell. 
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline newt

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Re: just found out im HIV+ and found out yesterday my CD4 is low
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2009, 01:34:45 PM »
Well hello

So you might be bumped onto treatment, which is deffo a shock...

A few months of treatment for HIVI bet you are feeling well again so I would focus on your goals/next holiday/pension not the immediate situation. The details of these is more likely to cause you grief.

I know this is hard, especially in your situation, and I have been kinda close to there, but really HIV, AIDS even, is eminently treatable these days, and can even be, dare I say it, a sideline.

In my (personal) experience, your (and once my) situation demands a kind of reckoning. what did I do etc? what will people think of me? Well, yes, but this is, IMHO, not important. The future, and what you do then, is.

-matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

 


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