Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Did starting medication make HIV "real" for you?

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Pricho01:
And....hello... just interested to know if starting medication for HIV made it more real for you? As in ok so I really do have a virus that could kill me without some pretty radical therapy...

Now my mind jumps ahead to Lypodystrophy, bone density probs..... all the things that were in the future are here and NOW... I can see the benefits i.e. I get to live....it's just with everything else in life its more of a psychological shock than I thought it would be.

For me at the moment this kinda sucks the big one.....it's kinda like getting the diagnosis again...(?) Am I off-track here?? Sharing some of your stories for dealing with starting meds would be helpful if you feel up for it.... Phil  :)

Common_ground:
In short...no.

HIV became real when the doctor told me I am HIV positive and when I went to pick up my labs and actually could see that there were some small buggers in my blood.

The meds was a non issue for me, sure I felt the side effects but it wasn't such a big deal.

After the diagnosis my mind started to adapt and work around this big life changing event and as time went by the meds and HIV just became the new norm, listen to the doc, talk to the great folks over here and yeah, that's about it. I also did some other changes in my life to better my health (food,drinking,drugs,exercise) that I should have been doing as HIV- as well but it never would've happen without a big smack in the face , and that smack happened to come in the form of a virus. It made me wake up.

Life is ever changing and so is HIV.

What helps me, is to think that HIV is in a very fast moving area of research, every day thousands of scientists and doctors go to work to improve the lives (clinical trials,studies,meds development etc etc) of HIV + people. It is reasonable to believe that many of your worries might never occur or if so, there will be skills, knowledge and meds when you need it.

I havent been + that long but this is my thinking, thanks for reading.

Cojo:
Hey Pricho,

I can relate to what you are saying. When I popped my first pills almost a year ago only three months after diagnosis, it was the first tangible " thing " I was doing that drove the reality home. It was a mind bender for sure. I wondered if would ever feel routine; folks say it is like brushing your teeth.
I am not quite there yet, but as time moves along, it does get better. One thing that has helped me is a bit of reframing - the pills are not a burden, curse or negative thing, they are soldiers that are keeping the virus the loser. Each time I pop them, I dwell for a quick moment in gratitude that I have them, they are paid for, there will be more and most especially for the thousands of lives that were experimented on so that I have what I have.

leatherman:
nope. lying in a hospital with doctors telling me I was about to die of PCP made AIDS real for me  ;) A similar situation happens to approx. 1/3 of the people diagnosed as HIV positive. That's how many people find out in the hospital and don't have the "luxury" of debating when or waiting to go onto meds. For us the meds don't make it "real", the meds keep us from dying. The meds are a life-saver.

Considering how many people take daily medications for all sorts of health problems, it seems silly to let HIV stigma make you think disparagingly of the meds. I mean instead of 1 pill a day or so, you could be having to test your blood with a prick and injecting yourself with insulin at every meal! You could be on daily heart meds, having to have your blood checked every week.

Also worrying about side-effects is pretty silly too, as package insert information on the meds clearly shows that short term issues (like dizziness and nausea) happen 10% and less of the time and long term effects (like the ones you listed) usually happen less than 5%. So if at least 90% of most patients don't even have any short or long term effects (and those are pretty damned good odds) why bother worrying about something that probably won't happen?

I've been on meds for 20 yrs now. From AZT, 4 pills every 4 hours every day every week puking the whole time and ending up in the hospital for a blood transfusion from anemia to my current regimen of Reyataz/norvir/Truvada which (after some initial gastro issues) now has no side effects for 8 yrs and has me feeling healthier than I did in all the other decades of HIV meds. I'll tell you what, I would have loved started taking meds in 2012 compared to 1992. ;)

besides in the end the equation is pretty simple:
no meds = HIV becomes AIDS = death
Compared to that, meds don't look bad at all, now do they? ;) :D

mecch:

--- Quote from: Pricho01 on September 01, 2012, 06:16:10 AM ---And....hello... just interested to know if starting medication for HIV made it more real for you? As in ok so I really do have a virus that could kill me without some pretty radical therapy...

Now my mind jumps ahead to Lypodystrophy, bone density probs..... all the things that were in the future are here and NOW... I can see the benefits i.e. I get to live....it's just with everything else in life its more of a psychological shock than I thought it would be.

For me at the moment this kinda sucks the big one.....it's kinda like getting the diagnosis again...(?) Am I off-track here?? Sharing some of your stories for dealing with starting meds would be helpful if you feel up for it.... Phil  :)

--- End quote ---

No.  Not at all.  I was HIV+ just a few months and wasn't doing so well. Going on HAART returned things to a new normal that made HIV seem far less dramatic both immediately and looking to the future.

Also, I'm not someone who worries about side effects from HAART.  The one's I have experienced were eventually solved by the doctors or time.

I don't understand your illogical idea that all future POTENTIAL side effects of medication are suddenly present.  If you don't have them now, you don't have them now. They are not present.  Please stop projecting dark clouds everytime you take a pill.  Figure out a a way for it to be completely mundane, like a morning coffee.

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