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Author Topic: Surprise blood test -- now I am scared... Should I get rid of my parakeet?  (Read 3254 times)

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Offline wolfthorn

  • Member
  • Posts: 88
I started haart 2 weeks ago with a low cd4 (20) and high viral load. I went in today to talk to my doctor about some symptoms I was having and he took my labs by surprise. I think the hiv meds have probably done their job as I have taken them with full compliance, but now I'm scared about a number of things... The doctor was mad that I got a parakeet due to the risk of cryptococcus. My friend who bought it for me had no idea that I was so badly immunodeficient, and to be honest it's the first thing that's made me happy since being diagnosed. But I keep thinking about that guy who dies because he has a cat in Trainspotting.

Will my T cells go up at all? I am hoping for at least an upward trend.

I'm also worried that I have cancer (ks or lymphoma) that's going to present itself.   

Well, I guess I will find out soon.

 At work they wanted us to plan our retirement contributions, and I was just thinking, wow, I could drop dead in a month, how much do I want to put away for after I die?

7/10/13: Oraquick at Home (+)
7/11/13: CD4 <20, VL 286,000
7/26/13: Start Stribild, Bactrim, Azithromycin
8/13/13: CD4 64, VL 1194
9/11/13: CD4 87, VL 511
10/14/13: CD4 164, VL 34
10/15/13: Stop Azithromycin!

Offline darryaz

  • Member
  • Posts: 450
Based on the fact that you have started on HAART, chances are you won't be "so badly immunodeficient" for very long.  Once you have built up a good CD-4 (300+) count the bird won't pose much (if any) risk to you.

Is it possible to avoid the bird's feces for the next few months? (maybe the friend who gave it to you can clean the cage temporarily).  Really that's the main risk.

As far as your retirement contributions, any one of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow.  There's every likelihood that you'll live for a good long time, so planning for your retirement is an EXTREMELY good idea.

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,660
When you mentioned the parakeet in the other thread, I was going to mention an issue with birds and a compromised immune system.  But, I was not sure whether that was mainly for wild birds, so I didn't feel competent enough to say.  When my CD4 was at 171, I didn't mess with putting bird seed in the feeders.  I let my partner do it.  Even now, I'm careful to wash my hands right away, when I do it.

So, I will defer to those more knowledgable.  I did just google parakeets.  It seems cryptococcosis is mainly something seen in wild birds, especially pigeons.  However, parakeets and parrots can cause Psittacosis.  It is spread the same way, through the inhalation of dried droppings.  The CDC says there have fewer than 50 cases documented each year.  But, again, more knowledgable members can give you better info.


Offline jkinatl2

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Fuck the people who tell you to relinquish your pet.

TRAINSPOTTING? Really??? Screw that noise. People have been telling people with AIDS to ditch their cats since forever. And here's the skinny - it DOES NOT TAKE a lot of work to avoid pathogens from these creatures who give us comfort and, in many many cases, actually save lives.

Yes, your cd4 sucks. But it will get better. Don't let your doctor yell at you for getting a goddamned parakeet. Ask him if there are any prophylactic meds you need, because you are damned sure taking care of that little guy.

Fuck people sometimes.

Buy a case of rubber gloves. Hell, buy a case of masks if you feel the need. Use the gloves when you are cleaning the cage - and clean that cage a lot. Airborne stuff is still stuff, so avoiding the cage isn't an option. Find a cheap (or not cheap) air filter to use near the cage. Invest in that little guy, because he did NOT choose you, or the cage he is in, or the life he is going to have. He deserves to be treated well. And YOU deserve all the love you will get in return.

Don't let any asshole, online or off, convince you otherwise. You give enough to this damned disease. Don't make your loneliness your penance. You have been offered the give of love. Take it. Return it. With a few precautions you will BOTH have a wonderful life together.

Take precautions as long as your cd4 remains under 200. It might take several months. Might take a year. But budget for those gloves and masks, and do the thing.

It's a great responsibility, taking care of a pet. But the return is more than worth the cost.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline wolfthorn

  • Member
  • Posts: 88
Thanks for all the advice.
7/10/13: Oraquick at Home (+)
7/11/13: CD4 <20, VL 286,000
7/26/13: Start Stribild, Bactrim, Azithromycin
8/13/13: CD4 64, VL 1194
9/11/13: CD4 87, VL 511
10/14/13: CD4 164, VL 34
10/15/13: Stop Azithromycin!

Offline wolfthorn

  • Member
  • Posts: 88
I actually found out that I can have the parakeet tested for crypto and psitticosis. If it's negative, I don't have to worry. If it's positive, I can have my sister take care of her until it's treated (treating parakeet too). I talked to my doctor about this and he was cool about it.
7/10/13: Oraquick at Home (+)
7/11/13: CD4 <20, VL 286,000
7/26/13: Start Stribild, Bactrim, Azithromycin
8/13/13: CD4 64, VL 1194
9/11/13: CD4 87, VL 511
10/14/13: CD4 164, VL 34
10/15/13: Stop Azithromycin!

Offline WillyWump

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,367
Glad you found a resolution to this Wolf, a pet is a great thing for us to have. Enjoy!

POZ since '08

Last Labs-
11-6-14 CD4- 871, UD
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir


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