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Author Topic: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009  (Read 5667 times)

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Offline activehiv

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Hi Everyone

I just tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009.   After taking the oral swab and testing positive my case worker then took a blood sample and said it would be about 10 days before they get the confirmation.  I'm not counting on the blood test coming back negative being I've read that the oral swab  test are 99.6% accurate.  It was a shocker being told I was positive but I've pretty much accepted it and have a pretty positive attitude about my life's new challenge.

Here's what happened:

I got really sick around mid July with flu like symptoms around mid July.  This "flu" lasted for about 3 or so weeks.  It was not until the last week of October when I started to experience pain while urinating (burning and puss like discharge) which promoted me to visit the emergency room.  They gave me some antibiotics a said it looked like I have chlamydia. But could not say for sure so they did a swab and did a blood test.  The next day when I called back they said the test results came back negative for chlamydia and said I probably just had a urinary tract infection and advised that I see my regular doctor for follow up.  Well I could not get an appointment to see my regular doctor until December so I decided to go to a local clinic to get an HIV test.  20 minutes after swabbing my top and bottom gum's I was told I was positive.  So here I am trying to figure out what kind of life modifications I need to make as I would like to start asap. 

I'm not sure if this is related to my recent diagnosis of HIV but the skin in the palms of my hands are dry and cracking.  Dose anyone know why this is happening?  Is this a common symptom with HIV Positive men?

Also, I have a pet cat.  Is it safe for me to have cat being HIV positive? Are there any pre-cautions I should take with my pet? 

Lastly, I'm a pretty active person who works out 4 to 6 days a week.  I bike, swim, surf, and weight train.  Should I cut back on my physical activity or is it safe for me to be physically active  4 to 6 days a week?

Sorry for all the questions but I just want to make sure I am able to get a head start on dealing with this new life challenge. 

Aloha,

activehiv
Hawaii 
 



Offline webontheweb

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2009, 07:32:15 AM »
Aloha, my friend.  Your post caught my eye as I lived in Hawaii in the 80's.  In Oahu. In Kaimuki!  I am sure if you are like most of us who joined this site, you have been checking back every five seconds to see if there is a reply.
You WILL be going through some big changes over the next year, but it appears from what you have written that are trying to accept and deal with this situation honestly and without hesitation.   As you join up with an HIV doc and clinic you will find a load of assistance and help to guide through the adjustment.
I know nothing about cats and HIV but someone will post here for you.  Hands?  Could just be an allergy.  HIV does not make your hands break out.  It is good that you are excersizing, keep  it up. 
I always advise newbies to find a mentor, either here at poadotcom or though the HIV network in Hawaii.
It is good to have a person to talk and vent to and help show you the way.  I found tremendous help here when I was diagnosed.
A lot will be going on with you over the next few months and it can be overwhelming.  We are all here for you.  Courage!

You will find a lot of love in these rooms.

Offline max123

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2009, 09:03:17 AM »
hi active.

sorry to hear about your rapid test results. i know what a shock that can be, having been there myself a few months ago. interestingly, i also had the neg sti penile discharge & burning sensation as a symptom, but without the flu-like symptoms.

first off, definitely wait until you have the confirmatory test results (elisa/western blot) before going a lot further. there can be false positive results with the rapid test. i'm sure that one of the moderators here will address this point with you in further depth.

it sounds like mentally, you're in a good place and taking the proactive route. that's a very good start. keep that up.

if in fact your confirmatory tests results are positive, the next thing will be to see what your 'numbers' look like, requiring a second blood draw. viral load and cd4 testing will let you & your docs know how your body has responded to infection at that particular point in time. check out the 'lessons' section here for more info. the if and when to start meds issue will ensue, which may be one of the hardest decisions that you potentially face.

as far as exercising, if your body is feeling good, i'd say stay with it. maybe just don't push yourself as hard and lighten up the # of days until you can get more directive from your doc, if necessary. graded exercise is good for your body and your mind right now. it also boosts the immune system.

i've read that hiv can cause dry skin, but imagine it would affect either gender (just like hiv itself). i'm confident that you will get more input on that from forum members.

regarding your cat, the concern is that cats can potentially be a vector of toxoplasmosis transmission. if your cat is healthy (you can have your vet do a toxo test on the cat) and is an indoor pet (reducing its potential for infection) and you don't feed it raw meat, you should be fine. enjoy your cat...just be sure to scoop and dispose of its solid waste daily and wash your hands after doing so. some people wear disposable gloves but unless it's clinically indicated for your health, gloves appear negotiable. an aside, you too will likely be getting tested for toxoplasmosis when they draw your next set of bloods, if in fact you're confirmed hiv positive.

well bud, i wish you the best. hang in there and keep us posted. you can pm me anytime.

max
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

Offline macv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2009, 09:05:53 AM »
hello Active,
 I keep 3 bengal cats, no problem what so ever, I just wash my hands thoroughly when I change their litter boxes and try not to breath in any dust. Like you, I train 4 to 5 times a week with weights, I cycle everywhere when I can,I row and run. I am 220 pounds of muscle and having HIV for what must be over 3 years has not stopped me from doing ANYTHING at all that I normally do. I make sure I keep my appointments at the clinic, and am ready to start taking medicine when I am told to. I reakon you will be fine, and I agree, this website was an absolute goidsend when I found out this time last year.
Wishing you all the best
macv

Offline Ann

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2009, 10:59:14 AM »
Hi Active, welcome to the forums.

Let's not put the cart before the horse. False positive results on the rapid test can and do happen all the time. Sometimes it's due to an underlying (and often undiagnosed) autoimmune disease, sometimes it's due to pregnancy (obviously not in your case) and sometimes they just happen for no apparent reason.

You are not officially considered hiv positive until your positive antibody test has been confirmed with a positive Western Blot result. To learn more about the various diagnostic tests, please read our Testing Lesson.

By the way, what is usually meant by the rapid tests being "99.6% accurate" refers to negative results when the test is performed outside or at the end of the three month window period. The accuracy of positive results on the rapid tests is lower, although I'm not sure of the exact figure.

If you have been engaging in unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse you have been at risk for hiv infection, but if you've been using condoms correctly and consistently, chances are very good that this is a false positive. You don't mention what you think has put you at risk for hiv.

Good luck, and try to not stress out too much while you wait for your additional test results. You could always get another rapid test in the meantime - but be aware that if you're getting false positive results due to an underlying autoimmune problem, you could get a repeat result. (And by the way, skin problems can often be a symptom of autoimmune problems.) However, if it was a false positive due to mishandling or similar, you should get a negative result. Hopefully you've had a false-positive scare.

Even if you do get confirmation of your positive status, you don't need to cut back on your exercise. Exercise is good for people who are hiv positive. You also don't need to worry about your cat, provided you take what should be usual hygiene precautions such as washing your hands after cleaning the litter tray. You should be doing that whether or not you are hiv positive.

Hang in there! Keep us posted as to further test results. I've got my fingers crossed for you that you've only had a false-positive, which is totally a possibility with the rapid tests.

Ann
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 11:01:50 AM 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 activehiv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2009, 02:31:34 PM »
Hi Everyone

Thank you so much for the advice, encouragement, and kind words.  I think I've found my therapy group. As I'm not really the "meet in person" type of group guy. HA!  Anyhow I hope so too that the test comes back as a false positive. 

Again everyone thanks again for all of the support. 

Aloha,
activehiv

Offline activehiv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2009, 02:29:39 PM »
Hey Everyone

Well today I more then likely got confirmation that I am HIV positive.  My boy friends test results came back positive.  He's the only person that I've had unprotected anal sex with.  The Health Department, where he got the test done at, gave him the results and asked him to come back in December.  They would not tell him what kind of tests they ran and just gave him the results and hung up.  I guess we can't really expect any compassion from the health department that probably deals with this kind of stuff on a daily basis. 

I have another question if that's alright.

Is it safe for us to have unprotected sex with each other being we're both HIV positive?

Aloha,
activehiv



Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2009, 05:05:01 PM »
active,

That rather dodgy sounding phone call from the health department is in NO WAY a confirmation of your own hiv status. It doesn't even sound like a confirmation of HIS status. And it seems very, very strange that they told him he doesn't need further follow-up until December. Usually, the next step after a WB confirmation of an hiv diagnosis is another blood draw, this time to get the CD4 and viral load numbers. I mean, what if he has a VL in the millions and a CD4 of 20?

Your bf needs to go to a different testing center or doctor and get properly tested by someone who will tell him what tests are being run. Something doesn't sound right here.

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 activehiv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2009, 06:14:11 PM »
Ann that were my thoughts exactly.  This was at the Hawaii State Department of Health Diamond Head Center STD/HIV Clinic.  The way you get your results is that you call in give them the number they gave you when you visited the clinic and give you the test results.   He said the lady he talked to just said "STD's Negative, HIV Positive." And advised him to come in on December 3rd.  That was it.  I told him to ask what kind of test they used to determine his positive status and they told him that will all be discussed during his December appointment. I thought that seemed a little odd.  There is no where we can go today (he's at work right now) and tomorrow they are closed being its Veterans Day.  So I guess Thursday will be his first opportunity.  Should he go to an emergency room or just wait until Thursday?  Thanks again for all of your help and guidance.  Aloha, active

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2009, 07:37:33 PM »
Active,

You can find hiv testing centers near you by entering your zip code into the Health Services Directory database. I wouldn't recommend going to an emergency room - this isn't a true emergency. It would be inappropriate to use emergency services in this manner.

And please, until you've been confirmed as hiv positive, you really should not be posting in the Living forum. You shouldn't really be posting in this forum either, without that confirmation, but I'll wait and see on that score. Please keep any further discussion in this thread only, until you know for sure one way or the other where you stand. Thanks.

Good luck with the testing.

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 activehiv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2009, 07:55:36 PM »
Ok thanks for the info.  I wont post any more until I get my confirmation.

Offline max123

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2009, 09:13:56 PM »
ps: i would also put a hold on the unprotected sex for now, dude. you both potentially have enough on your plates to contend with at the moment.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 09:37:30 PM by max123 »
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

Offline activehiv

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  • Posts: 24
Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2009, 03:59:17 PM »
Hey Everyone well I just got the all that my blood test results have finally come back in.  I meet with my case worker at 3pm Hawaii time.  Kinda nervous but I'm expecting that it will be confirmed positive.  I do have a question about HIV and taking care of someone with cancer. 

My mom was diagnosed with cancer and I will be taking care of things for her pre and post surgery which would include chemo and radiation treatment.  Her doctor did advise her to keep her immune system strong, so will either of us be a risk of getting sick should my blood test results come back positive?  Should I not take responsibility of taking care of her?  I do not plan on telling her or anyone of my HIV status no matter what my blood test results state.  Is this wrong? 

Also I won't be in the state for maybe 2 or so months being she dose not live in here, and don't plan on doing any blood work until I get back home (should the results come back positive).  Is waiting two months a good idea or should I try to visit a clinic in California and see if they will do blood work for me while I'm there?  In addition I am currently on state funded medical coverage being I'm unemployed at the moment.  So they will not cover anything but then emergency room visits. 

Sorry in advance to Ann and the other moderators.  I know you asked me not to post until I get my confirmation but I'm sorry I just need to get some advice as I have very little time to make a decision. 

Offline max123

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2009, 10:17:48 PM »
hi active.

how did your wb results turn out today?

max
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

Offline activehiv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2009, 03:28:10 AM »
ELISA and Western Blot came back positive

Offline mikee

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2009, 08:27:02 AM »
hi active.

im sorry to hear that your case is also a confirmed hiv+ status. just like yours, my test has just been confirmed last nov. 21 of this year. and i know that this is so much to handle at this time.

i assure you you'll go through the depression part as well, since we are all human and we go through the same process,(just wondering how others got through this without the depression part, haha, but you know what, im lucky to have found this site, they all made me feel that i am alone, that i can survive this.

relax, i know things will definitely be alright. im pretty sure on thats, just make sure you adhere strictly on taking your drugs(when you already need to), take good care of your health and keep a positive mental state. it will help in keepng your vl down and your cd4 in good range.

regarding your mom, as a health care provider... i cant see any reason why you should have some hesitations in taking care of her, just make sure to keep her and your self protected. make sure no blood transmission will happen. cancer patients sometimes share the same issue with us, they do have a weak immune system. so if she has some communicable or contagious illness, make sure you are protected and same thing goes from you to her.

owke dowkie???
God bless and have a blast is yuletide season.
2008  - EIA nonreactive
01/09 - Probable infection
01/09 - HIV 1/2 Quali Serodia PA - nonreactive
04/09 - Seroconertion (rash,fever, tonsillitis)
05/09 - Recurrence of rash and fever
07/09 - Diarrhea Started
09/09 - Severe Seborrheic Dermatitis
10/09 - Reactive Fujerebio Serodia Particle Agglutination
11/21 - EIA - Reactive
           Fujerebio Serodia PA - Reactive
           WB - Positive (gp160, gp120, p66, gp41,
           p24, p17 bands were formed)
12/15 - cd4 = 66; vl = pending

Offline max123

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2009, 06:03:13 PM »
hi again active.

sorry to hear the news. while you were kind of expecting it, the blow can still be tough. at least you have your bf's support, since he is also going through this. just take a deep breath & educate yourself on what you need to do to stay healthy. also take a personal inventory of yourself & prioritize what needs to get done to avoid getting overwhelmed.

that's bad timing with your mom's diagnosis....when it rains it pours, huh? i admire your wanting to help care for her, but only you know the answer to if you're emotionally & physically ready for that undertaking. especially with all going on with you right now. as for dropping everything in your life to do it, i think you should consider devising a plan to take care of yourself first, and then see about helping her. do you have any siblings to help you with your mom? you're likely aware that you need more bloods run. that really shouldn't wait. you need to see where you stand regarding the disease. you don't want to end up in the hospital yourself. maybe see what arrangements you can definitely make and count on, if you decide to get this done in cali before you actually get there. maybe they can put a rush on your labwork in hawaii given your circumstances? it's worth exploring all options. your case worker should be able to help you work though those humps.

good luck with all & in your decisions. think wisely and keep us all posted.

max
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

Offline Dale Parker

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2009, 10:38:54 PM »
Hi Active: Sorry to hear about your positive results. It sounds like you are handling it pretty good mentally. I agree with the others that you should not wait to go for further blood testing. You need to find out how sick you are. Your CD4 counts may be good and you won't have to start meds right away. On the other hand you may need to start meds right away if your counts are low. It's no good helping your mom if you get sick as well. Neither one of you needs added stress in your life as it will have an adverse affect on your heath.
 You should get in touch with your local hiv/aids group. They can help with finding funding for drugs (if you need them) as well as any other support that you need. They should also be able to give you the name of a support group by your mom's place to help you out for the next few months.
  When I was diagnosed my CD4's were pretty low (they were 21). My arms and legs were really dry and itchy. The doctors thought that it was allergies which it wasn't. Once I got on the meds they cleared up. I did a lot of reading about changing my lifestyle and most of it told me to be pretty sterile. Most stuff said to clean everything, cook meats well done, get rid of the cat as the poop/kitty litter dust can make you sick. Reading the real life stories on here I found a lot of varying accounts of things like keeping/getting rid of animals, cleanliness etc. My personal choice was to try and live my life as close to "my normal" as I could. I realize that some of my choices may not be the wisest ones (e.g. I still pet strange dogs and cats) and they may at some point make me sick but I'll deal with that if it happens.
Wishing you and your mom the best of health
Dale
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline GNYC09

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2009, 11:46:38 PM »
Hi Active, I'm sorry to hear the news about your test results.  I'd like to welcome you to these boards.  You'll find a lot of good advice here. You and your BF should next get your CD4 counts and viral load, which you'll need to figure out your next steps (apart from taking time to absorb the news).  Good luck!

Offline activehiv

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2009, 02:28:28 PM »
Hey Everyone thanks for all the the encouragement.  Well it seems that I will not be able to get into see a doctor before I leave. Their earliest open appointment was 5 days after I leave.  So I will have to wait until I get back from taking, anywhere from 1 to 3 months, to get do my blood work.  I know its a gamble but its something that I have to do. I really don't have any options.  I can't make any excuses as to why I can't come to help (and the fact that I really want to).  In addition, I do not want to tell my mom or any of my other relatives that I have HIV as they all already has enough stress to deal with from the cancer treatment.  Kinda sad to say but I'm the only one that has a cool head in my family.  Everyone freaks out something goes wrong.  They get overly emotional which does not help on either end. 

I am not sure if I will be able to get blood work done in California being I am not a resident of that state.  My personal medical insurance and the HIV/AIDS foundation I am working with will not cover out of state medical expenses either.  Dose anyone know of any clinics I maybe able to visit while I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area that will work with an out of state resident free of charge (far reach but I was told there are no dumb questions so here's one! ha!)?

Generally I am a healthy person, I eat good say 90% of the time, exercise 5 to 7 days a week, and hardly use alcohol.  However, I can see my diet go to crap and alcohol use sky rocket being I will be in the Bay Area for the holidays and around friends and family I have not seen in years.

Anyway, if anyone has some advice for me I would appreciate it.  Aloha, Active

Offline max123

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Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2009, 10:46:52 AM »
active,

yes, you're right. with your current plan you are taking a gamble...but, you may have an option.

can your mom's surgery be delayed a week?...just a thought. in many cases, a 1 week delay isn't that big of a deal. this is especially true as your 'care giving' is going to entail a reasonable amount of stress on you irrespective of how great of shape you're in, and stress itself has can lower your cd4 count. imo, i'd rather have the best shot at obtaining a meaningful first set of labs if in fact your mom's condition isn't emergent.

have you contacted any aso's in sf to check your eligibility there? that will automatically indicate your flexibility in waiting until you're in cali.

good luck.

max

1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

Offline activehiv

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  • Posts: 24
Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2009, 03:22:03 PM »
Hi Max, sorry but what are ASO's and where can I find an online directory of them?  I did a search on this web site but only found testing centers.  I did not find anything about treatment facilities.  Also my mom's surgery cannot wait.  They are on a strict schedule of chemo and radiation, surgery, then follow up chemo and radiation.  So it's important I get to California this week.  Thanks, active

Offline max123

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  • Posts: 377
  • Carpe Diem
Re: Need some advice, tested positive this past Thursday, November 5, 2009
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2009, 05:18:23 PM »
hey active,

that sucks about the timing with your mom's procedure...am wishing her the best.

aso= aids service organization, of which i'm pretty confident sf has several of. try googling & calling them or posting on here about sf aso contact info. i recall that there are some people on the forum here that deal with aso's in that area. your situation is a tough one to be in & maybe 1 of the aso's would be willing to help you out directly or refer you through the department of health, despite your residency issue.
 
good luck.

max
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 05:22:07 PM by max123 »
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

 


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