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Author Topic: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"  (Read 4776 times)

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Offline nothing4granted

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
With that sentence, said to me by my doctor on 10-26-09, I began my journey as an HIV+ man.

I've enjoyed reading posts on this site and thought I'd stop being a lurker and maybe add my own info on here in hopes it might help someone else, and even help me in putting it down on paper so to speak. 

I went to the doctor on 10/21 thinking I had become diabetic with fatigue, constant thirst, weight loss, and frequent urination.  It wasn't diabetes, I'd find out just what on 11/5.  My primary care doctor that did the HIV test, to check all possibilities, said she'd set up an appointment for me ASAP with a specialist that was one of the best in the area.  When I went to see him the following week he was pretty sure I had 2nd stage syphilis looking at the splotches on my palms and my alopecia.  Two days later on 11/5 he was calling me to tell me I needed to be admitted into the hospital to be desensitized to penicillin to treat the syphilis since I was allergic and no time to waste.  I was in the hospital the following day.  After a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), ultrasound on my heart, MRI, chest Xray, and further bloodwork it was determined that I was a lucky man indeed.  The syphilis having progressed rapidly due to the HIV was about to go stage 3 and really do a number on me.  So it was caught before that.

With all the syphilis drama I didn't really even have time to focus on what was happening to me.  I got out of the hospital on the 4th day and sent home with an IV penicillin pump flowing into my arm.  12 days of that and I was done with penicillin.  My two best friends, one of which is positive, were there for me all the way.  And my mom, who thought it was a blood infection only and knew nothing about about HIV or "Phyllis", was there each day. 

I started on Atripla on 11/20/09 since my CD4 was 324, probably lowered no doubt due to the syphilis according to my specialist.  On the 7th day exactly I got the rash and I treated it with Benadryl.  It gradually faded and was gone in 6 days.  I never stopped taking the Atripla and still take it now at bedtime with no more than a one hour difference in the time.  Never missed a dose.  My next visit back after starting it showed my CD4 at 350 and that was only a few weeks later.  I did have some vivid dreams but I'd forget them as soon as I would wake up.  The drunken feeling I don't notice because I'm asleep.  YAY!  I do notice some teeny bit of that during the day now though.

So all in all I've done well with it.  I don't think about it all the time like I did in those first weeks.  Almost like I can forget about it now and then.  I look good now having gained my lost weight back, as well as my hair and eyebrows.  LOL  Once I'm recovered for my upcoming hernia repair surgery I'll get back to the gym.  I know!  HIV, then syphilis, now a hernia.  Jeez, you turn 40 and it's like a car coming out of warranty.  Every damned thing goes wrong.  LOL

I am in great spirits, with the exception of a boo hoo fit a few weeks ago when the stress of everything and life in general got to me.  My faith comforts me that it happened for a reason...it's already helped me focus on just enjoying life.  I've been making new friends in the HIV+ community and you learn something from each person.  I just wish the gay community in general wasn't so judgemental about it.  I let my guard down in regards to my health and it happened.  I'm glad it wasn't diabetes where I couldn't have sweets anymore.  20 years of being out and sexually active and WOW, your life changes course. 

I plan to continue to be who I was before and enjoy who I will become.  Like they say in "Steel Magnolias", that which does not kills us makes stronger!  Certainly I am blessed to have loved ones that care for me, health that is improving, and one pill a day regimen that my body is tolerant of at least for now.  But more than that, I don't feel like I'm alone in this.  You guys and gals are here too right?  Hopefully somebody can read this, dry their tears or perhaps smile/laugh, and get on with living their life.  I have!  My next Dr visit is 2/17 and I look forward to continued good news!

Offline phildinftlaudy

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,965
  • sweet Ann what you think babe...
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 03:58:42 PM »
Liked the post --- here was and is my experience, so far:
On 9/13/08, I received the news.  I actually was attending a special event and a Department of Health bus was there doing community screenings.  Now, I was getting tested every 6 months for HIV as my partner of 6 years was positive -- undetectable -- and we weren't always good about being "safe." Each time before when I had gotten tested, I expected to hear "you're positive" but was always told "you're negative - be more careful."  But, on 9/13, after waiting twenty minutes, I returned for my results.  The outreach worker looked at the strip once, then twice, then closely again.  He then called the nurse over and she nodded her head and said yes.  He looked to me and said "You're reactive."  I said -- unbelievably dumbfounded -- what does that mean.  To which he responded, you are positive, we need to do a confirmation test.  Of course, the confirmation came back positive.

Things started moving real fast and changes came about in my life - whether I was ready or not -- luckily I was ready... I met with a case manager, got looped into medical care (as I did not have insurance -- luckily my income qualified me for Ryan White funding).  Got my first labs back the end of October which showed cd4's in 600s and viral load around 2,000.  Shortly after experienced some stomach pains, diagnosed with enlarged spleen -- body trying to fight off infection.  Also, started experiencing more fatigue and diagnosed w/ GERD --

Continued faithfully to go to my labs and follow ups with ID doctor.  In 10/09 doctor said I could choose to go on meds -- labs showed no resistance to any types -- cd4 was 473 and vl 2,900 -- i said lets go for it because i have read where earlier the start, better the outcome.  Happy to say i just got most recent labs back since starting meds on 12/4/09 --- cd4 is 520 and vl is 60.  Like you, I am on Atripla.  Haven't had too many side effects at all.  I take it at 11:00 pm -- try to do on empty stomach, but to be honest, I like my late night snacks, so i sometimes take 1/2 hour to 1 hour after eating.  Some stomach pain in the mornings; a few vivid dreams -- which i try to remember, but like you, usually forget by morning.  A little bit of morning grogginess -- but no drunk or dizzy feeling  -- probably immune to that from my years of drinking Coronas and Bacardi -- which I still enjoy a Corona every now and then.

Overall, I am happy, healthy and plan to live with HIV -- not let HIV live with me.... 

Like these forums and the opportunity they provide to hear from others and share experiences.
September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Offline veritas

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,410
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 03:59:01 PM »

granted,

After reading your post, something tells me that your gonna do just fine. Great attitude for someone newly diagnosed with many complications.

BRAVO !!!

Keep us posted on your progress, we'll be here.

v

Offline nothing4granted

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 10:55:43 AM »
Thank you for the comments!  I appreciate that very much.  It's always nice to hear someone's story as it has a way of helping me, and I would imagine all of us, feel not so isolated in all of this. 

Got my hernia surgery next Monday morning so I've already checked with my specialist about anything I need to make sure they don't give me that might interact with the Atripla.  He said nothing to worry about but there is a long list of crap you aren't suppose to take.  At least the surgeon knows my status and what meds I am on and didn't raise any concerns when I met with him.  I've been needing to get it repaired for some time now and it just got pushed to the back burner with all that's happened in the past 3 months.

Great to hear from ya'll!

Brian

Offline 1228GUY

  • Member
  • Posts: 64
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 11:15:34 AM »
Brian,

You seem to have a good head on your shoulders and got started on the journey to taking care of yourself rather quickly.  I believe that has a huge impact on the outcome of everything related with one's hiv.  I tested positive on 12.29.09 and you better believe I dove right in to support groups, and phone calls and websites.  This website is amazing, and you have been reading the posts on here before you decided to become a member so you are already aware of what great support this website can provide!!  Good look on your hernia surgery, you will do great!!!  Keep us posted!!!

Mark
12.28.09 - Rcvd call I should test
12.29.09 - Confirmed
01.19.10 - VL 30015  CD4 172
03.18.10 - VL 1627    CD4 193
04.15.10 - VL 965      CD4 248
07.09.10 - VL 227      CD4 233 (19%)
08.12.10 - VL 99        CD4 280 (18%)
12.03.19 - VL 79        CD4 262 (21%)
02.09.11 - VL 90        CD4 376 (19%)
05.20.11 - VL 106      CD4 196 (25%)
06.23.11 - VL 82        CD4 289
08.05.11 - VL UD       CD4 286
11.04.11 - VL 54        CD4 305
03.02.12 - VL UD       CD4 523
04.30.12 - VL 74
08.12.12 - VL 153      CD4 353
11.15.12 - VL 43        CD4 443
01.11.13 - VL 39       
03.29.12 - VL UD        CD4 640
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
Truvada.Norvir.Prezista - Serostim HGH

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2010, 05:20:08 AM »
Hello Brian,

I also agree,.. you seem to have a good head on your shoulders !!  Good luck with the hernia surgery, this Monday.  I've had this done before.  The first 24 to 36 hours after, can be a little rough for some, and then it will get better. Take it easy the first two weeks.  Let us know how everything's going !!


Ray
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 08:25:29 PM by J.R.E. »
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 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline skeebo1969

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,705
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 08:22:17 AM »



  granted,

   Sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis however, like Veritas I think you are going to be fine.   Welcome to the forums.  Sheez, you really dodged a bullet with the syphilis!  Look forward to hearing more from you on the forums.

  Take care of yourself!
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 08:24:28 PM »


As I understand it, you must have had that hernia surgery today.  Hope everything went well for you.

 Don't forget to take  those pain pills, that the doctor most likely prescribed for you. Wishing you a speedy recovery.


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 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,887
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 11:28:47 PM »
Let us know how the surgery went.  My friend had one.  He had gotten an infection from it (before the surgery) and got sick.  Then, he had complications from the wire mesh they used to fix it.  I think I have that right--wire mesh.  I hope yours went great.


Offline nothing4granted

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2010, 03:58:55 PM »
Thank you all so much for your responses and encouragement!  The hernia surgery went really well and I was home not long after.  It took about 40 minutes and everyone at the hospital was incredible to deal with.  It was the same hospital I was in when I was treated for the syphilis and once again I was treated with so much respect and compassion.  It made what might have been a scary situation so much better.  Gotta love that anesthesia!  One minutes I was looking up at the ceiling in the OR and next thing I knew I was coming to in recovery.

That first day I was sore and loopy but I slept pretty well that night.  Each day I hurt less, am able to get up and about more easily, and I'm already cutting back on the hydrocodone.  FoodNetwork, frequent naps, and great popsicles have been the key I'm sure.  LOL

Thanks again for all of your concern!  Oh and yes I did have the mesh used, which according to my doctor is the only way to do a hernia repair.  I really like him and according to the staff there is the guy to go to for a hernia repair.  He's got a good bedside manner too, checking on how my HIV was going when he first met with me. 

Brian

Offline Hellraiser

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,136
  • Semi-misanthropic
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2010, 04:01:45 PM »
I'm glad everything turned out well for you!

Offline veritas

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,410
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 05:34:06 AM »

granted,

A success story is always the best medicine. Good for you !

v

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: "I don't know how to tell you this, but your HIV test is positive"
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 08:26:15 AM »
Brian,

Glad to hear that all went well !!


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 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

 


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