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latest results... disease progression? :-[

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survivor703:
Hello All,

I know it's been a while. I've just been trying to enjoy the summer and not think about HIV. Well, I went in for my labs today, and my latest results are posted in my signature and I'm a little worried...

My viral load almost tripled. Also, my cd4 percentage went down to what seems to be AIDS level. I don't have any symptoms are anything, except for a few subtle changes in digestive patterns.

I know I should go ahead and start medication, but I have so many fears and worries about it. It's like once you start, there's no going back. I guess it's a moment of acceptance, and it just hits you -- man, I really have HIV for the rest of my life. 

Also, I'm insured by my employers group health care. I know they can't find out, but what if I lose my job, will I have to go on drug assistance? I won't be able to afford thousands a month for medication.  Would there be a break in my treatment due to this? I live in VA / MD, and I believe there is a waiting list here.

Oh well, I'm just ranting about my fears... i'll shut up now. But maybe someone out there is listening.

Thanks everyone

Miss Philicia:
1) Is your disease progressing? Yes, marginally. The number to look at for starting treatment is the absolute cd4, not the others, and yours hasn't dropped so while you should wrap your head around eventually starting, I don't see the need to press the panic button today.

2) I think the waiting list in Virginia has gone down to hardly anyone, but why worry about that right now if you don't have to? That's just finding things to worry about. Basically if you go on treatment and lose your job, if you qualified for ADAP then yes that's the option you'd use to continue treatment.

survivor703:
thanks miss philicia for your kind and reassuring words... I feel a little better now. i was kind of in panic mode.

lincoln6echo:
Hey Survivor

I can relate to the fear of going on meds.  I was diagnosed just over a month ago and I started meds last week.  My CD4's have been anywhere from 360's to high 500's but my VL up as high as 9 million as of two weeks ago which threw me around the bend.

I decided to go on meds right away.  It made it all the more real for me too which I've posted about, but given that it's something I knew I would eventually have to do anyway, I figured sooner rather than later was the best option. Plus I've been been having a lot of HIV related symptoms that are making me sick..no OI's or AIDS as such but just my body fighting like a SOB against the virus making me feel super crappy.  That and the latest research suggesting that the sooner one is on meds after initial infection can have long term benefits to overall health.

I'm having a few minor side effects but nothing major and I'm pretty sure this will go away within another week or so. 

I know it's scary and it does make it more, "real" but i'm finding after almost a week of taking the meds, I just use a pill box and throw the meds in with my vitamins and take it like anything else.  I try and not make a big deal of it.  It seems to be helping.

I'm not sure about your insurance questions as i'm not in the US, but there are a lot of folks on here that can probably steer you in the right direction.

Don't let your fears keep you from getting the medical attention you deserve.

Cheers
lincoln.



newt:
02/15/2012 CD4 502 21%, VL 69,134
04/10/2012 CD4 607 22%, VL 60,893
10/08/2012 CD4 615 15%, VL 155,981

To my mind, this is not evidence of disease progression, it's evidence of one low CD4% test which is unimportant in the context of a CD4 count over 500 on 3 consecutive tests.

- matt

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