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Author Topic: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load  (Read 5418 times)

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Offline Condesa66

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Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« on: August 25, 2013, 08:52:32 PM »
I just tested positive after experiencing affects of an acute infection.  I was likely infected 3-4 months ago.  My CD4 is at 400, and my Viral Load is a whopping 1.7 million.  I was surprised by my CD4, but totally shocked by my VL.  I understand the basics of what VL is, and that anything over 100,000 is high, but what I don't understand is the significance of such an incredibly SUPER high VL and if I should starts meds right away.  I am perfectly healthy and have been healthy other than the "flu-like" symptoms I had about 3 months ago from acute infection.

Should I be worried about a 1.7 million VL and what can be or should be done about?  Am I at risk for OIs or other health concerns? 

Ay feedback or similar experiences would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2013, 09:51:10 PM »
Hello! Welcome to the forums!

It is not at all unusual for a recently seroconverted person to have a staggering viral load. That usually goes WAY down after the first few months, and the cd4 count tends to rebound as well.

f course, over time that changes, as HIV continually mutates and beats down the immune system. But that's what the meds are for.

What you are experiencing is totally normal for someone who just finished seroconverting, for what it's worth.

Some people decide to start meds after diagnosis, and there are compelling arguments for preserving the innate immune system. But there are also arguments for waiting, especially regarding access to meds and insurance and stuff.

"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 oksikoko

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2013, 11:39:49 PM »
Should I be worried about a 1.7 million VL and what can be or should be done about?  Am I at risk for OIs or other health concerns? 

For what it's worth, I've known other people with such high VLs who seemed to turn out fine. Look at it this way: once you're undetectable, you'll be able to look back at your accomplishment with all kinds of pride. I got mine down from a mere 130,000+, but you'll be a superstar. ;)

Your doctor will be your best guide, but yes, it's probably a good idea to get that down a bit. As others said, it should go down considerably on its own, though depending on where you are and what your doctor thinks, you might consider starting meds anyway. The fewer virus particles mucking around inside you, the better off you'll be ultimately, IMHO.

Good luck. You seem to have a very stable attitude about the whole thing, and that's a real asset when dealing with this irritating virus.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (?) off treatment ☣ CD4 (?) off treatment
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

If no one complains, nothing will ever change.

Offline mecch

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 06:42:54 AM »
How many times have they looked at your viral load since diagnosis? 

This is the first viral load count, and it comes 3-4 months after seroconversion?

Have you seen an infectious disease doctor and been given some input what this means???

High viral loads are not the sign of impending doom.  What will happen is that your doctor will make a call, and I am guessing pretty soon, as to whether this is likely to go down.

I had high viral loads, from one to a couple million, for a few months after infection.  So, they watched it pretty closely and at about the 4 month mark, the trend was going up, not down, and I went on treatment.

I would say 3-4 months AFTER the infection, your load could be considered high, and you should be getting viral loads test very regularly.  But, I'm not a doctor.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline EUINAU

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 09:49:26 AM »
I am sure you'll be fine. i was told its completely normal to have such high viral load. My VL was higher than ours but I was infected only few weeks at the time and CD just over 300 I started meds straightaway and after two months my VL was just over 70!

Offline ShazamsD

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 01:55:11 PM »
I wouldn't stress. My first numbers were shy of 4 million and I was freaked out.  6 weeks later at my next test I was under 5 k. 
hang in there, listen to your doctors and adhere to your meds. 

Sucks at this moment but it does, as they say, get better
5/25/2013 - tested positive ora quick
6/09/2013 - confirmed positive at clinic
7/02/2013 - cd4-5. Vl 3,896,558
8/19/2013 - cd4-501. Vl 4586

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 03:39:21 PM »
I wouldn't stress. My first numbers were shy of 4 million and I was freaked out.  6 weeks later at my next test I was under 5 k. 
hang in there, listen to your doctors and adhere to your meds. 

Sucks at this moment but it does, as they say, get better

The OP is NOT on meds yet.

I agree, no need to freak out. But viral loads in the millions, an estimated  3-4 months after infection, is not the same situation as a lot of you other people are commenting about, your own....

Just saying...
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline oksikoko

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 05:13:15 PM »
The OP is NOT on meds yet.

I agree, no need to freak out. But viral loads in the millions, an estimated  3-4 months after infection, is not the same situation as a lot of you other people are commenting about, your own....

Just saying...

I repeat: "Your doctor will be your best guide, but yes, it's probably a good idea to get that down a bit." Ain't none of us qualified to give medical advice over the intarwebs. We only have opinions, hearsay and personal experience. Acute Retroviral Syndrome in theory can still be going 12 weeks after infection, though 6-8 weeks is more "normal". There's no need to panic, but there is need to talk with a doctor.

Reliable Reference: "Acute HIV infection is defined as the period between exposure to the virus and completion of the initial immune responses. This period varies but generally lasts 2-3 months."
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (?) off treatment ☣ CD4 (?) off treatment
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

If no one complains, nothing will ever change.

Offline Condesa66

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 11:54:25 PM »
Thanks all for your feedback. Had another blood test today, saw my Doc. and we agreed to start meds. 

Offline lincoln6echo

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2013, 01:20:08 AM »
Hey Condesa86
My VL was almost 10 million last summer when I was in seroconversion and super sick.
I was freaked out too so I totally understand how you feel.

Once you start meds though, it will drop quite fast.
lincoln.


Offline harleymc

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2013, 05:51:50 PM »
Hang on in there, talk with your doctor but absolutely do not freak out!
Once the medications kick in you'll most likely end up with an undetectable viral load and a near normal life span.

So have a chat with your doctor and find a community support organisation, they may be able to point you to a peer support group. None of us have to deal with this alone.

Offline ratcat

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 01:06:18 PM »
Dude...all of the people who have replied to this thread are pushing the medication stance too hard.  The vl will go down on it's own and your cd4 will go up.  Get your labs done in another 4 months and you will see.  No need for meds for at least 2 years, if not much longer.  Your fine.  Don't listen to this hogwash.  Once again...you don't need meds yet!!!! ok!!!!

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 01:17:40 PM »

 No need for meds for at least 2 years, if not much longer.


You cannot possibly know that. The only way the OP is going to know anything of the sort is through having his counts regularly monitored.

The decision of when to start treatment is strictly up to him and his doctor.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline oksikoko

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  • Writing the congressman again
Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 02:01:58 PM »
No need for meds for at least 2 years, if not much longer.  Your fine.  Don't listen to this hogwash.  Once again...you don't need meds yet!!!! ok!!!!

Your opinion. Many doctors in the US strongly disagree, though this really should be evaluated on a patient by patient basis.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (?) off treatment ☣ CD4 (?) off treatment
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

If no one complains, nothing will ever change.

Offline oksikoko

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  • Writing the congressman again
Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2013, 04:33:38 PM »
Your opinion. Many doctors in the US strongly disagree, though this really should be evaluated on a patient by patient basis.

And to be fair, this was on Poz.com today:
Insufficient Evidence to Support Universal HIV Treatment?

"A group of HIV experts believes there is not yet enough evidence to support a recommendation of universal antiretroviral treatment regardless of CD4 levels, aidsmap reports."
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (?) off treatment ☣ CD4 (?) off treatment
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

If no one complains, nothing will ever change.

Offline drewm

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  • Posts: 1,111
Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2013, 05:09:49 PM »
I started with a VL of a half million and was UD in about 3 months. Hang in there  ;)
Diagnosed in  May of 2010 with teh AIDS.

PCP Pneumonia . CD4 8 . VL 500,000

ATRIPLA - VALTREX -  FLUOXETINE - FENOFIBRATE


Numbers consistent since 12/2010 - VL has remained undetectable and CD4 is anywhere from 275-325

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2013, 06:09:59 PM »
Dude...all of the people who have replied to this thread are pushing the medication stance too hard.  The vl will go down on it's own and your cd4 will go up.  Get your labs done in another 4 months and you will see.  No need for meds for at least 2 years, if not much longer.  Your fine.  Don't listen to this hogwash.  Once again...you don't need meds yet!!!! ok!!!!
Nobody pushed meds on the OP.  Some people just assumed the OP was already on haart. Some people don't seem to read threads very carefully. That would include you.

The OP makes the call in consultation with a doctor.

There's no way you should be predicting how long someone should walk around untreated. 

And if the viral loads stays in the millions, it takes a toll.  I can say from personal experience just a few months of that and I was ematiated and run down. 

I think predictions like yours, based on thin air, aren't helping anyone, just adding needless doubts and false expectations. Here, in this siutation, there is expert MEDICAL advice at hand, consulting with an individual about the best course. 

Oh, it's "you're" not "your" smarty pants.  "ok!!!!"
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2013, 12:03:59 AM »
Dude...all of the people who have replied to this thread are pushing the medication stance too hard.  The vl will go down on it's own and your cd4 will go up.  Get your labs done in another 4 months and you will see.  No need for meds for at least 2 years, if not much longer.  Your fine.  Don't listen to this hogwash.  Once again...you don't need meds yet!!!! ok!!!!

You are about sixteenth from the last in line of people I would anticipate offering sound advice to others on this forum. There is a time to listen and learn. Please avail yourself of it.
"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 Condesa66

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2013, 01:38:27 AM »
Who has started meds right after seroconversion and/or starting meds prior to CD4 dropping below 350?  At what CD4 level are people starting meds?  I'm at 398 and my doc has recommended to start treatment. I am also 4-5 months from initial infection.  Waiting for another blood test. Thanks.

Offline Condesa66

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2013, 01:38:55 AM »
Nobody pushed meds on the OP.  Some people just assumed the OP was already on haart. Some people don't seem to read threads very carefully. That would include you.

The OP makes the call in consultation with a doctor.

There's no way you should be predicting how long someone should walk around untreated. 

And if the viral loads stays in the millions, it takes a toll.  I can say from personal experience just a few months of that and I was ematiated and run down. 

I think predictions like yours, based on thin air, aren't helping anyone, just adding needless doubts and false expectations. Here, in this siutation, there is expert MEDICAL advice at hand, consulting with an individual about the best course. 

Oh, it's "you're" not "your" smarty pants.  "ok!!!!"

Offline Condesa66

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2013, 01:39:53 AM »
What is "OP"?

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2013, 01:54:36 AM »
short for "original poster" as in the author of the thread
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline JungleJungle

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2013, 03:08:09 AM »
Who has started meds right after seroconversion and/or starting meds prior to CD4 dropping below 350?  At what CD4 level are people starting meds?  I'm at 398 and my doc has recommended to start treatment. I am also 4-5 months from initial infection.  Waiting for another blood test. Thanks.

Hi, my last (& first to be honest...)  blood test was CD4 381 (vl 32k), and my doctor is going to put me under treatment in a few weeks. And i totally agree with him.
Even if as an immediate reaction i felt a bit disappointed, i considered again everything and now i can't wait to begin my meds...and hopefully become UD as soon as possible and get back my CD4 at full regimen...fuckin' virus!  ;D ;D ;D
You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin',
I'm gonna send you back to schoolin',
Way down inside honey, you need it,
I'm gonna give you my love,
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Offline GrlPozX

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2013, 11:42:26 AM »
My VL is 3.5mil as we speak. And my CD4 is only 34. I'm newly diagnosed and apparently must have had it for a while. I just started treatment a week ago. So don't know any changes yet but my doc (a REALLY good educated one I might add) has no worries as long as I do what he says. I'm learning day to day the positives of treatment and when to or when not to "freak out". I wish you luck and believe me.. There's ALOT of support here. :)

Offline mecch

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2013, 02:17:37 PM »
My VL is 3.5mil as we speak. And my CD4 is only 34. I'm newly diagnosed and apparently must have had it for a while. I just started treatment a week ago. So don't know any changes yet but my doc (a REALLY good educated one I might add) has no worries as long as I do what he says. I'm learning day to day the positives of treatment and when to or when not to "freak out". I wish you luck and believe me.. There's ALOT of support here. :)
If your viral load and decimated CD4 is the result of a long-standing infection, you are living a very different experience being HIV+ than the OP, who is diagnosed soon after infection and a couple months later still has a very high viral load.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline cicero

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2013, 11:37:04 PM »
Who has started meds right after seroconversion and/or starting meds prior to CD4 dropping below 350?  At what CD4 level are people starting meds?  I'm at 398 and my doc has recommended to start treatment. I am also 4-5 months from initial infection.  Waiting for another blood test. Thanks.

I had CD4 at 442 and viral load over a million right at seroconversion.  My doctor started me on Atripla right away. He is definitely of the line of thought that early treatment has long term benefits, though I understand there are other medical viewpoints on this.  I trust him though so we'll see what these numbers are in October. 
"How could this happen to lovely me?" -Jacqueline Susann

Offline oksikoko

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Re: Just tested positive - Really high Viral Load
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2013, 11:53:47 PM »
Who has started meds right after seroconversion and/or starting meds prior to CD4 dropping below 350?  At what CD4 level are people starting meds?  I'm at 398 and my doc has recommended to start treatment. I am also 4-5 months from initial infection.  Waiting for another blood test. Thanks.

I started meds shortly after seroconversion (within a few months at most). My CD4 was over 900, but starting immediately sounded like the best option. I wish it hadn't taken an extra month waiting for all the tests to come back. I could've started 4 weeks earlier, lol.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (?) off treatment ☣ CD4 (?) off treatment
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

If no one complains, nothing will ever change.

 


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