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Another newbie

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vertigo:
Hey again,

JK, thanks for the greeting.  I'm definitely on the lookout for a loss of energy, but so far no issues.  Keeping my partner safe is a biggie, though, for sure.  So far we haven't had sex since my diagnosis.  I don't see us doing too much until I'm on meds, although after almost 12 years together sex is no longer central to our relationship.

Mecch, the main reason for waiting is that I want to see how my body does on its own for a little bit.  I'm sure I will be on meds for a very long time, so don't want to rush into it too fast if not necessary.  It appears that I'm not a rapid progressor, so should have a little time.  Also, living in the USA, insurance is an issue.  There will be a big co-pay, and the latest meds are not on my carrier's preferred drug list.  (Some of the stuff on there reads like a playbook from 1999.  Zerit, anyone?)  So initiating treatment is likely to be a project.

intheusa, your question is too technical for me.  Also irrelevant to my case.  I was inside the window period for antibody testing at the time of the first test, hence the neg result.  The RNA test told a different story, however, which unfortunately turned out to be correct.

Cheers - 

mecch:

--- Quote from: vertigo on September 27, 2012, 02:34:35 AM ---Mecch, the main reason for waiting is that I want to see how my body does on its own for a little bit.  I'm sure I will be on meds for a very long time, so don't want to rush into it too fast if not necessary.  It appears that I'm not a rapid progressor, so should have a little time.  Also, living in the USA, insurance is an issue.  There will be a big co-pay, and the latest meds are not on my carrier's preferred drug list.  (Some of the stuff on there reads like a playbook from 1999.  Zerit, anyone?)  So initiating treatment is likely to be a project.

--- End quote ---

Ok affording the best treatment is a handful to manage. I see why you wouldn't want to start right away and don't think you should, unless the energy level starts effecting your work or life.  What is your plan to get answers and possible solutions for affording the best drugs when you need them.  Is there an ASO you can visit where you can get expert advice on such challenges.

As an aside, I have certainly heard of high copays in the USA.  And certainly of millions with no insurance.  However I didn't know that US insurance companies are allowed to deny the latest HIV medicine that has been approved. ?  !  Your Insurance company doesnt allow Isentress?  Slightly older but still first line Reyataz.  Atripla or its components? 

jkinatl2:
I totally understand, and from what you write you are making the best decisions for you and your situation.

I live in the US as well, so I know the drill. And seriously, it would be easier to find a doctor to prescribe Viagra over the phone than Zerit. Shudder.

Sadly, it looks like while you see how things go, you might want to look into your insurance situation, and make sure it evolves as much as it can before meds become a certainty. Luckily for you, that might be a year or two. Just don't do what everyone else does; put it off until the last minute and freak out :)

I am thinking perhaps (and I say this as someone in hos 40s as well) that maybe that other shoe's not going to drop. Being someone who has seen the Dark Ages, and who has the intellect and comprehension skills to read up (and act) on the science behind HIV, there might not be the same reaction as someone, say, in his 20s to whom HIV has always and only been a vague, dark boogeyman to scare folks away on GRINDR.

Then again, I paint with a broad brush. My partner of a year and change is in his twenties, and he really didn't do more than bat an eye and, well, do a google search and come here for a pretty thorough education. Well, not only on HIV (This site really has cutting edge prevention stuff) but he got to see how I react when baited online (poorly) so, there's that.

There are a lot of folks here with a tremendous amount of wisdom and knowledge. In the treatment category, you might want to check out posts by a guy who goes by Newt. And of course, the LESSONS sections are a breezy read.

vertigo:
mecch, some really good questions there and I don't have the answers yet.  Maybe it won't be as difficult as I fear.  Yet already I've had to tussle with insurance just to get doctor & lab costs paid, and that's small fry compared to going on meds.

Atripla is on the preferred list, but Sustiva isn't going to work for me due to my job requirements.  Reyataz is on it, too, but the jaundice issue makes me leery, and would prefer to stay away from the PI's and norvir altogether.  I've been leaning towards Isentress/Truvada as the eventual choice.  As it turns out, my doc said either that or Complera would be his top picks.  Neither Isentress or Complera is on the preferred list, but I don't know if that means I can't get it -- it might just cost me more.  TBD!

JK, thanks for your informed comments as well.  I'll probably bring up the drug/insurance issue with my doc when I see him next in Jan.  He has a big HIV practice, so I'm sure knows how the game is best played.  And I have enjoyed surfing around the site and reading some of the content, Newt's expert posts included.  Quite a lively discussion you guys all had going regarding disclosure just recently!  I have a question on that topic myself, but will save it for another day.

Take care -

jkinatl2:
Just to chime on one more time:

Please don't rule OUT things like Atripla and others because of potential side effects. Honestly, if you do not have a pre-existing mental health condition you are extremely unlikely to have a life-altering sife effect from the Sustiva component. I had such a side effect, unfortunately. but then again I have a history of Major Depressive Disorder. While I use my situation as a cautionary tale to those who think the drugs are harmless, I cannot claim - and perhaps you should reconsider- whether the experiences of some are dictatorial in absence of all the relevant information.

Atripla might be just the thing for you, in other words.

As for the Complera, I am unfamiliar with most of it's mechanics, sadly. But I personally am on Isentress, Truvada, Norvir and Prezista (a double combo if you will) and so far I have had very few side effects, and none whatsoever that limited my ability to live my life.

Just be careful that you don't research your way out of many of the very effective medication regimen, just because they didn't work for some folks. I am not so married to my own experiences, for example, that I would try to talk anyone out of Atripla so long as their mental health history does not raise any red flags. And even then, of course, it really is the luck of the draw.

I'm certainly not singing the praises of one regimen over another, but please don't write one off because of side effects that might or might not manifest. Well, a caveat goes out for things like AZT and Zerit, which I would avoid if I could.

There are a lot of effective and relatively painless treatment options. And more in the pipeline. By the time meds become a reality for you, there might even be a treatment option that isn't even on the list. I am aware of several ongoing studies for bi-monthly treatment, and even ARV-free treatment with regular infusion therapy. These are just the studies I know about. I am sure there are others, and by the time you need meds, the concept might have evolved more than either of us might imagine.

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