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Tested + last week, really need some guidance on this...

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lincoln6echo:
Hi
I tested positive last week by means of the rapid test.  Here in Canada, it's available at the local STD clinic (at least in my city) and I had two dots (meaning you are positive, one dot, negative.)  I asked the nurse to do it twice to make sure, still two dots.  It's not a saliva test but a blood test. 

I was dumfounded, but in a way not surprised and since I was tested in June and negative at that time, I pretty much can narrow down when and with who etc..so it's been only two and a half months at the most. 

I've been in a blur for the past week and have read almost every thread I can and appreciate all the upbuilding encouragement from you all.  I have felt and continue to feel all the range of emotions that all of you have talked about who are newly diagnosed.  It's all most too much to handle.

The day after I was diagnosed I went and saw my Doctor who was great.  We are waiting for the other blood tests to come in showing CD4, Viral load etc. 

I also went to see a peer counsellor a earlier this week to get some perspective.  I'm not about to throw myself out the window, but I'm distraught nonetheless. 

A couple questions though for my specific situation:

Although I am in relatively good health, (non smoker, non drug user, rarely drink) not overweight,  I have had another condition since January where the body produces too much CSF fluid and cramps the brain.  This condition is slowly getting better but has definitely worn me down this past 9 months.  Also, I'm not on meds for depression or anxiety or anything else for that matter other than the med I take for the CSF situation (that's a lie, I take zopiclone now and then to help me sleep and tylenol for pain) but I have in the past and am prone toward anxiety.  I over think, loose sleep, kinda get OCD'ish with my thoughts, can't get out of my body kinda thing. 

Right now I'm terribly tired but can't sleep so I take a half pill of zopiclone to help me get to sleep at night.  The reason I went and got tested is I have swollen painful glands in my neck, feel really stiff in that area, swollen glands in my groin area, have dry eyes and have that feeling just like you do before a full blown flu or cold, but it kinda just stays like that.  I have a headache and nausea but that's part of the condition with the CSF thing, so i'm not sure if it's related to getting HIV or not. 

I have had bronchitis in the past and get a cold/flu every year pretty much. 

I think my immune system is quite worn down as it is, even before getting infected with HIV, so i'm kinda freaking out about what my #'s are going to look like, which I should get by the end of this week. I won't be surpised if they are really low.  I seem to have a pain in my upper left chest area and I've had a persistent cough for a month.  No mucus or blood or anything like that tho coming up.

It might be psychosomatic but i'm thinking not.

If anyone can shed some light if you experienced similar and some general encouragement, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks for reading.







leatherman:

--- Quote from: lincoln6echo on September 05, 2012, 10:12:51 PM ---Hi
I tested positive last week by means of the rapid test.  ...
The day after I was diagnosed I went and saw my Doctor who was great.  We are waiting for the other blood tests to come in showing CD4, Viral load etc. 

--- End quote ---
actually, you're also waiting for a confirmatory Western blot test to confirm that you actually are positive. Although the rapid tests are very accurate, a positive result has to be confirmed by the more precise western blot test. However, with the high accuracy of the rapid test, your doctor is moving on forward testing for the cd4 count and viral load.


--- Quote from: lincoln6echo on September 05, 2012, 10:12:51 PM ---A couple questions though for my specific situation:

--- End quote ---
he he he. You never asked any questions ;D however, let me say this about what to expect. If your blood tests warrant it, you'll soon be prescribed medications to knock down that viral load and let your immune system get to rebuilding itself and get to fighting those other health problems you're having.

Lots of people have been where you are now. Some of us (a third!) were in the hospital very ill with opportunistic infections threatening our lives when we got our diagnosis. Others were luckier and found out sooner, thereby tackling the HIV before it was able to knock them down. In the end almost all of us have gone or will go onto meds, that's the only way to do anything about the HIV.

And thank goodness for the meds here in 2012!! They are nothing like AZT or zerit or any of the older ones with all the bad side effects. Why short term side effects happen to less than 10% of patients and long term side effects happen to 4% or less. Odds are in your favor that starting meds will be a very good thing.

So the bad news is that you slipped up and now you're infected with HIV. The good news is that there is 30 yrs of science and medical advancement out there now with tried and true drugs that'll help keep you healthier and able to live your life doing the things you want and need to do.


so as we say around here, I'm very sorry that you've had to come here (we'd all prefer that no one else was infected); however, we're glad that you found us. There's a lot of good information at this site (read through the Lessons section) and a lot of good people who will be willing, and eager, to give you some support and encouragement ;) so, welcome to AIDSmeds!

lincoln6echo:
Thanks for responding so quickly and for the helpful info, and yes, I suppose I forgot to ask the question didn't I? :)

Questions then:

Since it's only been over two months that I was infected, is it possible to get an OI this fast? 

Does what I describe sound like seroconversion symptoms and if so, do people usually wait until after seroconversion to start meds to get a better reading on the bodies natural ability to heal itself?

leatherman:

--- Quote from: lincoln6echo on September 06, 2012, 01:11:06 AM ---Since it's only been over two months that I was infected, is it possible to get an OI this fast? 

Does what I describe sound like seroconversion symptoms and if so, do people usually wait until after seroconversion to start meds to get a better reading on the bodies natural ability to heal itself?

--- End quote ---
first off, not everyone has seroconversion symptoms that they even notice, your issues could just be some sickness your body is dealing with. OI's happen when the immune system is pretty damaged (cd4s<200) which usually happens after yrs of being infected with HIV. Medications aren't started until a person's cd4 are <350 (though it's looking like that will be bumped up to 500), with an elevated viral load, and/or an OI.

take a look at this chart

it shows that in the initial stages of infection, the cd4s decline somewhat while the viral load spikes. After several weeks to months, the cd4s recover somewhat and the viral load drops. After that things go along for a long time, as in years. Then the cd4s began to fall again, and the virl load rises.

if you truly are in those very early stages, you might have some distressing numbers; but after things level out, you may very well go years before meds become an issue. Regardless of what stage you are currently at, there's something important to learn right now about watching and tracking your HIV - it's all about the trends! a one time test tells you nothing (often because the cd4 count can fluctuate by 100 in just one day!). To really know what's happening, you need to see what the trend of the cd4 count and viral load count is over at least 3 tests - and often tests are done 6 weeks apart (that frequent often when people are new patients or when they are sick) to 6 months apart. But don't worry, HIV isn't like insulin where a drop of 200 in a 24 hr period could kill you. There's always plenty of time to get multiple tests over 2-3 months before really knowing if your counts are going up or down.

one other quick point, the body doesn't naturally heal itself when we're talking about HIV. The only thing that will stop HIV are the meds. period. Then when the meds are working, your immune system can recover - and there's no magic bullet to help that cd4 recovery either. Not knowing your pre-HIV cd4 count, there's no way to know what a "normal" count for you is. it could be anyway in a range of 400 - 1500. :o The only way to deal with HIV is to wait until you hit the right time to start treatment, then start treatment, and remain adherent to that treatment.

I could tell you about the low odds against short term and long term side effects, and all that stuff; but you're probably so far away from starting meds right now that you've got plenty of time to read through those Lessons, to learn more about HIV and to hear more from your doctor before you need to worry about what meds to take or what effects you might have to deal with. ;) :D

lincoln6echo:
Thanks again for the info.

SO..got the call with my results today.

CD4 = 360
VL = 6, 383,000

I can safely say, at least I know why I feel like shite.

Even the nurse said a VL like that was very high.

I see my Dr on Sat.  I think I'd rather just get it over with and go on meds...it's going to happen sooner or later..

discouraged.

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