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Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.

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collegedude250:
I know AIDS is only a word, an abbreviation meant to describe a case of HIV that has progressed to a point where it needs to be handled with stronger drugs; but I can't help but feel helpless as I haven't even been in treatment yet and I am already starting at AIDS level. Dr. says this looks like it's been present for over 5 years (or at least this is what is common for someone who is at least 5 years into the virus). I can't believe I had it this long without knowing. I feel so ashamed of myself for having been so careless and so free with my body; I'm only 22 and I've already screwed up my life. I think most of this is still the shock of the diagnosis settling, but still, I feel so helpless right now.

leatherman:

--- Quote from: collegedude250 on December 19, 2012, 12:11:30 AM ---I feel so helpless right now.

--- End quote ---
feeling helpless is very common at the beginning - but meds - and time - will change all of that!

Many of us have been even sicker when diagnosed (1/3 of all HIV poz people find out presenting in an ER/Hospital with an unidentified illness). Many of us have been positive longer and at a much worse level.

Twenty yrs ago on Dec 26 1992 I found out I had AIDS and only 5 tcells (they didn't even have a viral load test back then). Since then I've had counts like 7, 12, 24 and was hospitalized numerous times and told I was about to die. However with the current meds now, I'm at an all time high (low 300s but really high for me) and I feel better than I ever have in nearly 18 yrs of meds.

Hang in there and things will get better - both your health (with meds) and mental/emotional condition (with time). You might want to read some of the LESSONS section here to learn what you need to know now that you are HIV positive. ;)

Best wishes and a better new year to you!
mikie

tednlou2:
Welcome to the forums, although I am sorry you had to find us. 

I think most of us went through the awful shock and then beating ourselves up.  I still get down on myself from time to time.  I was given an AIDS dx.  However, mine was artificially low, due to being very ill.  But, that word sticks in your mind.  Even though I knew I wasn't actually in the AIDS category, it messed with my mind.  I would get mad when doctors would tell me I technically still have an AIDS dx.  I shouldn't be mad, but that word meant all the awful things we grew up hearing about.

Are you on medication to prevent opportunistic infections?  That would be Bactrim for most.  Btw, have you tested before?  You could still be in acute infection and this explains your low CD4.  It would seem unusual someone so young would already be so progressed.  Although, not everyone is the same.  Some people progress more quickly, due to genetics and/or viral strain.  Many go a good 10 years, and are still above 500 without meds.  Some will need meds within two years.  And, I often forget how early many of us become sexually active, when thinking about how long someone may have been infected.  I was 13, when I first had sex. 

Whether you're in acute infection, you have been infected for some time, or you've just progressed faster than others, it is good you know your status, you're in medical care, and you're reaching out for support.  Stay in touch.  I have to be reminded this doesn't have to define us. 

Ted

friskyguy:
Like leatherman often says and rightly so........meds are your friends!

When ur ready, try to do some research and u will realise what some of our long term survivors had to go thru in the past when meds treatment in that time was non existant and/or so much less effective than it is today.

That realisation may hopefully change your perception that you are very fortunate to be where you are today with a great number of med options available with minimal side effects and doctors who understand the disease so much better.

Try lots of reading on this disease so that u feel like your getting on top of it....and that knowlege hopefully will make u feel more in control and less helpless.

Best of luck and remember your not the only one who has gone thu this or will go thru this and there are many knowledgable people here who can help.

mecch:

--- Quote from: collegedude250 on December 19, 2012, 12:11:30 AM ---I know AIDS is only a word, an abbreviation meant to describe a case of HIV that has progressed to a point where it needs to be handled with stronger drugs; but I can't help but feel helpless as I haven't even been in treatment yet and I am already starting at AIDS level. Dr. says this looks like it's been present for over 5 years (or at least this is what is common for someone who is at least 5 years into the virus). I can't believe I had it this long without knowing. I feel so ashamed of myself for having been so careless and so free with my body; I'm only 22 and I've already screwed up my life. I think most of this is still the shock of the diagnosis settling, but still, I feel so helpless right now.

--- End quote ---

I agree with the other posters above.   The diagnosis is a shock.  Try not to over-dramatize on the self-recrimminations.  One of the reasons you are thinking all this is the hideous history of HIV, the years it was a killer. Society hasn't come to grips with current experience, current knowledge.  Lots of moral judgements and fear and ignorance heaped onto a virus that is for the most part these days an STD.  Clutch the pearls!  STD!  Only natural you should reflect what most people think.

But you'll have to have a bigger awareness, consciousness, and the sooner the better.  You have not screwed up your life. You're not helpless - look -- you're already in medical care.  Don't be ashamed of the past and not knowing.  Don't be ashamed of now being HIV+.  What counts is how you think and act going forward. Act smartly and strategically to minimize the impact of HIV on your life. 

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