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Author Topic: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet  (Read 1667 times)

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Offline Piscean

  • Member
  • Posts: 27
Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« on: May 12, 2013, 07:53:45 PM »
I have been lurking in these forums for about a year now and have finely decided it is time to come out of the HIV+ closet.  Exactly one year ago today, I was infected with HIV via RAI. Yes, I got pozzed on Motherís day. Mum would be so proud (not) if she knew.  Other than my partner and healthcare workers, no one knows my status. You all are the first people I have told, as it should be since this forum and its wonderful and amazing contributors have helped me immensely over the past year. 

So here is my story. I am 50 year old (yikes!) gay man living in a major Midwest city where something called an AMG is scheduled to occur this summer.  I have partner of nineteen years who lives in another Midwest city due to career/job opportunities. My partner and I have not been intimate with each other for several years and have an open relationship. While on a business trip to Los Angeles I got to feeling lonely, horny and bored (a dangerous combination) and ended up visiting one of the bathhouses where I had an encounter which ended in RAI without a condom. 

Now youíre probably thinking that a 50 year old gay male should know better than to be having bareback sex at a bathhouse. And you are right to think that. After all, I lived through the horrible 80ís and 90ís. I lost just about every close gay male friend to this fucking plague.  This was not the first time I put myself at risk. In fact over the past few years my behavior had become riskier and riskier.  It will take some therapy to find out what lead me to bareback. Low self-esteem? Aging in the youth obsessed gay culture? Condom fatigue?  Survivorís guilt?  An intense need for intimacy?  All of the above?  Like I said, I have some work to do to figure out how I got here. 

Anyway, two weeks after my bathhouse encounter, I started to feel crappy. Really, really crappy. I had a severe headache, fevers, chills, night sweats and extreme fatigue. I kind of suspected what that I was experiencing primary HIV infection at this time, but did not do anything until the three week mark when I ended up in the ER.  At the ER, my HIV antibody test came back negative and my Western Blot test was ďconfusingĒ in the words of the resident physician. I PCR test was ordered and that told the whole story. I had a whopping 3.1 million VL and 307 CD4's.

The next day I saw my PCP of 20+ years for genotype testing. During the two week wait for the genotype results, I read this forum and the rest of AIDSmeds nonstop. One of the key take aways was Leathermanís now famous chart showing the progression curve of VL and CD4ís over the course of infection. Seeing this chart brought comfort as I was completely freaked out about having a VL in the millions. I was certain that I was doomed.  The chart and Leathermanís words told a different story.  I cried for the first time since diagnosis when I saw the chart and read the accompanying post. I finally had some hope.

Finally, my genotype results came back with no resistance and I took my first Atripla exactly five weeks and one day after infection. Four weeks later my VL was down to 1500 and at eight weeks I was UD. So in thirteen weeks I went from negative to positive to UD.  After eight months on Atripla, I switched to Striblid due to the CNS side effects caused by Atripla.

Currently I am still UD and my CD4ís are 697 @ 40%. I am feeling good, although I have occasional bouts of fatigue that I need to get sorted out. 

There you have it. I will most likely return to lurker mode here in this forum. But I wanted acknowledge how important this place and its contributors have been to me. Thank you for unknowingly guiding me on my journey over the past year. I cannot begin to tell you how much it has helped me and, no doubt, the other lurkers out there. 



Offline Jmarksto

  • Member
  • Posts: 468
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 08:39:54 PM »
Hey Piscean;

What a great heartfelt, honest, introduction -- welcome to the forums.  I think many of us here can relate to taking risks that we shouldn't have - so you are in good company. It's also good to hear that you are doing well.

Again, welcome,
JM

03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline drewm

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,043
  • Mmmmmm Hmmmmmm!
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 09:52:22 PM »
Welcome to the forums!  ;)
MAY 2010
VL>500,000 CD4>8

JUNE 2010 STARTED ATRIPLA

DEC 2010
VL>30 CD4>323

Atripla. Valtrex, Trilipix, Fluoxotine

Offline bmancanfly

  • Member
  • Posts: 554
  • Medicare For All !
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 09:04:29 AM »
Welcome.

Don't be hard on yourself about what happened.  People make mistakes at every age,  it's part of being human. 

Wishing you continued good health. 
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 Bertrand Russell

Offline Buckmark

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,520
  • Would you like to tie me up with your ties, Ty?
    • Henry's Home Page
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 01:30:53 PM »
Welcome, Piscean.  As others have said, people make mistakes all the time.  What I like is that you are actively looking at why your behavior had become riskier and riskier.  Not that people can't have one time slip-ups.  But if you've been seeing a pattern, then it's good to understand why.

Glad you viral load and CD4 count look good.

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline Piscean

  • Member
  • Posts: 27
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 08:46:29 PM »
Thank you everyone for the welcome. Sorry we all had to meet this way. I look forward to continue learning from you all and trying to give back when and where it is appropriate.

Offline Pontus

  • Member
  • Posts: 32
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 09:29:37 PM »
Thank you everyone for the welcome. Sorry we all had to meet this way. I look forward to continue learning from you all and trying to give back when and where it is appropriate.

Piscean, thank you for taking the time to write with such candor! As I was reading it, it felt like you were recounting my own story of how i came to be diagnosed HIV +. I just found out the result of my western blot last friday.. so I am still waiting on CD4, VL and the Genome results.  Thank you for  letting me know there is hope,, even in my "spooked" state.
05-17-13 - Diagnosed/ Westerblot
06-03-13 - VL=500,193 / CD4 384
06-03-13 - Gnome - no resistance
06-05-13 - Start Stribild
07-23-13 - VL = 100 / CD4 664
10-14-13 - VL = 40 / CD4 592
01-03-14 - VL = UD /CD4 784

Offline Theyer

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,490
  • Current ambition. Walk the Dog .
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 12:39:34 PM »
Welcome, welcome
Impressive Post , be a waste if we don't get more Piscean.
m
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline debsd222

  • Member
  • Posts: 69
Re: Coming Out Of The HIV+ Closet
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 11:06:37 PM »
Hi Piscean, Congratulations on speaking out...sounds a lot like my story too. They think i Got infected when I was around 50, but not diagnosed until I was 56. I'm now 61 and in the past year or so I've been talking about it more, in appropriate places, and find that since i stopping stigmatizing myself, my health has improved so much!
April 08 3 month bout w/ shingles, ongoing nerve pain
Dec 08 pos  cd4 200 %8  VL 18,000
Feb 09 started sustiva, truvada -allergic to sustiva, hospital 4 days.
March 09 started truvada, reyataz and norvir
March 09  cd4 279  % 12 VL 10,000
April 09 cd4 327  %12  VL 300
Aug 09 cd4 392  %16  Vl undetectable
Dec 09 hospital pneumonia 6 days
Dec 09 cd4 462  %20  VL undetectable
Mar 10 cd4 629 27% VL undetectable
July 9, 2010 cd4 505  21% VL undetectable
Oct 2010 cd4 689  22%  VL 64
Nov 2010  cd4689  22%  VL  UD
May 2013 cd4 759. 29%. VL. UD

 


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