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Author Topic: New Member from Cape Town SA  (Read 2056 times)

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Offline bruceb

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  • Posts: 4
New Member from Cape Town SA
« on: May 02, 2011, 06:42:12 AM »
Hi everybody,
I have recently acquired my own laptop and needless to say now have the freedom to browse the net freely. What a joy to have discovered this website - I mean I knew something like this probably existed but never had the privacy to actually explore. Now I am hooked!
Anyway, reading all these posts I wish I had this information earlier, it would have made such a difference in my life, espescially with a very major decision that I had to make : The decision to start ARV therapy. I just recently started, January 2009. But let me take you back to when it all started.
I was first diagnosed in January 1991and traced my exposure to the virus to about 1 year earlier, Dec/Jan 1990 - ie - living with HIV for just over 21 years and have been on ARV's (Alluvia + Truvada) for just over 2 years. I am questioning my decision to go onto ARV's because I have had no symptoms of the infection in all that time. In fact, I have lived a very healthy life with absolutely no major illnesses and still am.
Back in '91 when diagnosed, my T4 was about 350 and the Viral load 1200. My physician then wanted to start me on AZT but I refused. Over the years with my regular check ups it remained like that with slight variations in the numbers. It was mine and my physician's decision to start the therapy because I was getting older (lol). Good news is that now after 2 years of ARV therapy, my T4 is 500 and Viral load undetectable. My question, I feel that I shud not have started on ARV's - can I stop? Is this something I shud even consider?

Offline wolfter

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,663
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 07:37:19 AM »
Good morning and welcome to the forums.  I hope you do some considerable research on the topic of stopping meds or taking drug vacations.  You're very fortunate that you skipped the AZT years.  I had a different attitude about about adherence and almost had deadly results and lots of resistance issues.

Again, welcome.

Greg
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline bear60

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,104
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 11:05:56 AM »
Hello and welcome
A LOT of folks come on here asking the same sort of questions you are asking.  Its really sort of unfair to ask us these questions about starting or stopping meds because we are not doctors and have no right to try tp persuade you to do one kind of treatment over another.
It was YOUR desision to start meds and a CD4 count of 500 is much better than one of 350.  Thats all I'll say.

Joel
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline BT65

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  • Member
  • Posts: 9,979
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2011, 05:09:50 PM »
Welcome Bruce,

As Joel has said, we really cannot tell you what to do.  I wouldn't stop my meds, because of concerns about resistance.  Anyway, glad you're with us!

Betty
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Buckmark

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  • Would you like to tie me up with your ties, Ty?
    • Henry's Home Page
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2011, 06:09:14 PM »
Welcome Bruce,

It's a personal decision on when to start meds.  For some, the need is very clear.  For others, it is not so clear.  You didn't say why you feel you shouldn't have started meds, or why you want to stop them?  You're clearly getting good results on them, so I think you would have to have a compelling reason to stop taking them.

Regards,

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline bruceb

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 03:02:17 PM »
Thank you guys for your responses - it is much appreciated.
As I mentioned, I am new to this and am very glad that we can talk openly about an issue that is sometimes very difficult to just discuss with anybody who is not going through the experiences that we are.
So, Joel, I am very sorry that it came across that I was looking for answers from anybody, it is not the case. I guess I just wanted to hear about similar experiences and educate myself more on this topic because I know that ultimately it is a decision that my physician and I will have to address.
I am, however, very greatful for your responses. The reason this is on my mind is because I am experiencing some minor side effects because of the drugs but your responses have already given me more insight into ARV therapy.
Thank you. :)

Offline Theyer

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  • Posts: 2,543
  • Current ambition. Walk the Dog .
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 06:10:11 AM »
Welcome Bruce, hope to hear more from you in the future, as to your ? Henry sums it up for me.
love theyer
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,400
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 11:10:02 PM »
Hey Bruce,

Welcome to the forums, I am glad you have joined in and look forward to hearing more from you. 8)

I live in the Southwest U.S., in the place we call the Land of Enchantment, and I have been officially positive since 1985.

Regarding your question about the meds, well, as Henry said, deciding when to start is a pretty personal thing.

Now, regarding stopping, all of the studies I have seen in recent years indicate that treatment interruptions are not beneficial and there is, as Betty pointed out, the chance of developing resistance.

Moreover, the most recent information I have come across indicates there can be substantial damage done to the body by the virus itself, although there may not be outward indications of this. The belief is the inflammation caused by the body's constant battle with HIV leads to accelerated aging of some bodily systems, including the immune system, central nervous system and cardiovascular system.

At the moment, the research - and opinions - about this are all over the map. But, one common idea is the best way to help reduce these complications is to maintain a low or undetectable viral load in the bloodstream.

(Wordy, ain't I  !?!)

Here are a couple of links relating to these topics.

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/2614_20293.shtml

http://www.poz.com/articles/hiv_keeping_healthy_2251_15345.shtml

Are you having side effects or other problems with the meds? I know for some Aluvia can cause intestinal distress (diarrhea from hell).

Long story short (I know, too late  ;) ) I would carefully consider the plus and minus of halting your meds before jumping into it.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 11:24:08 PM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline bruceb

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: New Member from Cape Town SA
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011, 03:17:34 PM »
Hi Mark

Gee thanks - this is some valuable info and much appreciated! OMG - so that is where this intestinal distress is coming from! I had my suspiscions, now u've just confirmed it for me. I am grateful then at least that it is not severe but very mild. I will certainly check out your recommendations. You guys are the greatest. For the 1st time in 20 odd years I can talk so freely about my condition!
I am now much more optimistic about the next 20 years of my life!

BruceB

 


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