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My story and my first lab numbers

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atlantabro:
Hey there folks! I want to start off by saying THANKS! It's great to know that there is a community of positive, positive-minded people who are here to offer advice and support. It's certainly a comfort.

So, here's my story: I was diagnosed with HIV on 8/31 (just 5 days after my 27th bday) after giving blood at a blood drive at my job in the middle of July. I believe I was exposed/infected between the months of January and June of this year. While it's probably closer to June due to the flu-like symptoms I experienced at the time, I honestly don't know when exactly. When I found out, I felt terrible. Slightly depressed and uninformed, I sought out as much information as possible. From an initial recommendation of a friend, Aidsmeds has become a one-stop deal for me in terms of education and info. The lessons are very informative as is the advice and testimonies from the forum members.

I had my first visit with an ID doctor here in Atlanta on 9/18. Nice doctor, but not as comforting as I would like. He took blood then and today I received my results. 346 cd4+ cells/26% and a viral load of 28900. Not so good. And yeah, I'm freaking. Why? The thought of having to start a therapy is quite depressing and quite honestly, scares the sh*t out of me. Yes I know the meds are meant to help, but it's not something I'm ready to do. Granted, my doc did NOT put me on a therapy just yet, but he wants to see what next lab results are when I visit him again in December. So, I should try to relax. For now, at least.

Physically and mentally, I feel fine. Emotionally...also fine, but it depends on the time of day. Just a little scared, that's all. I have a few friends that are also diagnosed. One has been diagnosed for over 15 years and isn't on any medication whatsoever. To hear that was quite encouraging but to know that my counts may warrant the start of therapy makes me a bit jelly.

So, what should I do? Are first lab results such as mine the 'norm'? Will they get better? What can I do, if anything, to get better results? What do you think? I'm scared.

Matty the Damned:
346 cd4+ cells/26% and a viral load of 28900.

Altanta,

Welcome to the Forums. I'm sorry that you had reason to join us but I'm awfully glad you found us anyway.

First up your numbers are pretty good. An absolute count of 346 and a percentage of 26 is nothing to stress out about just at the moment. I'd kill for a percentage of 26! ;) The thing you'll learn with HIV monitoring is that it's trends over time that matter not particular results. Especially if you've just contracted the virus. It can take a few months (up to a year) for your number to settle into a predictable sort of routine.

The tests and what they mean are all explained in our lessons section. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the page you'll find a link to them. I strongly encourage you to read them.

Understand too, that you don't have to make a whole lot of decisions all at once. There's no hurry doll. It's often a good idea to try and get your head around your diagnosis before making huge decisions about medications. HIV medications are a big step in a persons life and there is some debate about when is the best time to start.

Fortunately AIDSMEDS is an excellent place to learn about these things. Read our lessons, read other peoples thread and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Fondly,

MtD

megasept:
 :)  Sorry, but starting therapy now (not years from now) might be a good idea given the count and VL you list (Don't take a poll as much as decide with your specialist). But, you are far from death's door. The question is would you be better off starting or waiting. I'd guess starting. One thing you won't mind is seeing your t-cells go up a lot, and that VL drop fast and furiously. That is the most common short-term outcome. The truth is all these numbers are fluid changing not just weekly but hourly. Among other things make sure you keep getting lab results from the same folks, because guess what, each lab gives a differrent result with samples taken simultaneously (I know. I tested the theory).

A word to the wise; the older I get (meaning my HIV) the less I obsess  :o on my "numbers". It is a given that I could improve them by going back on therapy (5 years no treatment, 5 years treatment (3tc, d4t) and 6 years off again), but my numbers in no way warrant it. So maybe you can look forward to the opposite scenario, a good while on therapy, then a good while off therapy. I am not predicting... just stating a likely possibility.

And what can you do for yourself? Well, what is best for you in general? Sound sleep, favorite music, laughing with friends, a bike ride, time with your pet, great home-cooked food, watch some favorite movie (I love netflix) travel, exercise or sports? Live a happy life. Push yourself a little and reward yourself for good deeds. Make changes. Reach out and help other people (in any way). Whatever you do don't waste the next few years---they might turn out to be your best.

I have the feeling you'll be around a very long time. The sooner you accept that likelihood the better you can appreciate being ill, but not sick (or is it the other way around)? Blessings.  8)

Life:
Ok,  Bro.... lol

Welcome to the AM..  I am glad you found us...  You know you just got handed a big plate-O-shit.  But you know what.  You don't have to eat it all in one sitting.  You got time.   Your doc will not do anything until you are ready (mentally) with those numbers you described.  Stay away from stress, breath and know this is just the beginning or a new chapter...  Don't make it a drama, make it say a romance novel with a pet virus you fucking despise... lol...  You will BE O K.

Love

Eldon:
Hello Atlantabro, it is Eldon.

It is unfortunate that you have tested positive. However, it is a good thing that you DO know now so that you can take action with your health. Please DO follow your Doctor's advice regarding this matter. It is important that you get the virus under control and not let it control you. Start a multi-vitamin, get some exercise, change your diet, drink plenty of fluids, educate yourself on HIV/AIDS, and get your proper rest.

I wish to extend to you a warm WELCOME here at the forums. It is a good thing as well that you have found this site. There is a lot of information here at your disposal for you to read. There are people who will be listening and answering your questions relating to HIV/AIDS. A great group of people. You will find communication, understanding, support, some cries, some laughter, which will lead towards you building a strong support system.

Again, Welcome! and Make the BEST of each Day!

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