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Author Topic: Traveling with HIV  (Read 1073 times)

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Offline ryanocerous

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Traveling with HIV
« on: December 13, 2013, 08:20:47 PM »
Hey everyone, I'm recently diagnosed and after some strong consideration am about to start Prezista/Norvir/Truvada. Before the diagnosis, I started a goal of saving up a good chunk of change for extensive world travel starting the summer of 2015.

I'm planning on stashing for three months and rotating stock once I need to start. I'm not too worried about this as we caught the virus during seroconversion and it appears my CD4 count is increasing (probably due to the massive lifestyle overhaul I pulled after finding out) from 750 in my initial labs to 836 two weeks ago. Once I start traveling, I plan on having a close friend or relative picking up my meds here in America as I'm ADAP approved and mailing them super high priority to where I am overseas. My doctor advised me to be extremely judicious with this step for obvious reasons.

While some of my travel plans include the developed world, I'd really like to experience a good amount of Africa and Southeast Asia. For this reason I'd like to know if anyone out there has done extensive travel (around 6 months) outside of their home country with HIV. The main questions being:

-If my CD4 count remains high and my VL relatively low prior to treatment, should I stash longer (4-6 months) assuming the meds aren't nearing expiration?
-Is it best to start my journey in lesser developed areas (where mail receiving risks would be higher) and end in more developed nations when I would be nearing the end of my back-stocked meds?

Any experiences with extensive travel outside of one's home nation while on medication would be extremely helpful here.

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 08:36:59 PM »
You didn't ask so forgive my unsolicited input. I could see "stashing" 1 or 2 months before starting, its nice to have some extra around. But stashing 6 months of ADAP funded HIV meds to travel around the world - do you consider this ethical? If you have the funds to travel around the world for 6 months, why do you qualify of ADAP?  If you care to explain.  Not that there is any reason you would. Sorry if my question is offensive, I am also a bit curious, slightly jealous, besides a bit judgemental.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline ryanocerous

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 08:48:54 PM »
I'm actually sort of working on minimalizing superfluous living costs to an extreme degree and saving up for a year and a half to make it possible. I'm well below the ADAP maximum. I guess the question of ethics does come up when stashing that much of a meds supply gets involved, especially considering I may have to change meds at some point (and all the backed up meds in my personal stash would go to tragic waste). Thank you for bringing that point up.

Offline ryanocerous

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 08:52:05 PM »
In a much broader sense, I'm asking for advice on achieving a long term life goal that was in place prior to HIV infection while dealing with an extremely delicate drug regimen and not letting HIV stop one from living the life they had planned at the same time.

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 08:54:44 PM »
Well on that topic, why would you have to change meds?  Ethics aside, if you want to pursue this dream, plan it to come a good 6 months after you start meds. If all systems are go after six months on a combo, I don't think the chance of having to change meds will come up.
As for extra meds. If you stick around the forums, people do sometimes send meds on the down low here, for someone who is in a pinch.  Also there are ways to donate meds but there is no official way, I think, in the States. But there are unofficial ways. And I think there are official collects if the donated meds are going out of the country.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 08:56:37 PM »
Well if you are going to build a stock before you go, why would you need anyone to "pick up meds" while you are gone?
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 09:00:33 PM »
If you are going to be on insurance through an exchange by 2015, maybe ADAP isn't part of the picture at all. Maybe your insurance won't care where you are as long as the premium is paid.  You would want to check this all out ahead of time. What is going to be covered and what not, for example if you needed health care for any reason while traveling.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 09:03:47 PM »
Also when were you diagnosed. If recently, you might be heading for a great immune response and a a few years of stability without HAART, and the whole question of medication could be put off until after your trip.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline ryanocerous

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 09:09:15 PM »
Early October, during seroconversion. Which then opens up the "fight early and fast v. wait and monitor closely" can of worms

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 09:14:57 PM »
So what is you decision about that? because if you are going to start early, you are NOT going to get a 6 month "stash".  All the recent hoopla about starting early means starting now, or really last month in your acute phase.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2013, 09:18:24 PM »
My first reaction suggestion to you is that you completely divide these considerations of how and when to take the dream journey, and the strategy for that.  From what your mind tells you to do about your HIV. 

Which one is the priority?   If you wait 6 months to validate a potential great immune response. Then go travel without meds. Whats the difference starting at 6 months or 1 year or 2 years, if you are not at the levels that call for starting, science says it makes no difference in the long run.  The only iffy thing is maybe the guessing game that starting NOW like this week might be different than staring in 1 year.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 09:21:28 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline nixsmail

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2013, 09:34:26 PM »
i think it's nice that you're not changing your life plans to do what you want to do. but building up even a two month backup will take quite some time to do, i think that most pharmacies cannot refill a prescription prior to about 7-10 days before the current one expires. so if you go by the 10 days (and i think it's probably closer to 5) then the second prescription puts you only 10 days ahead so in two months, third prescription, assuming a 30 day prescription you'd only be 20 days ahead. based on that you'd have to go 1.5 years (18 months) to get 180 days backup and that's if it's 10 days. anyway something to think about and possibly investigate.
09/05/07 Officially diagnosed +4yrs at the time
11/06/07 CD4 624 (18%) VL 43,200
05/04/09 CD4 272 (15%) VL 521,190
06/10/09 CD4 127 (13%) VL 626,376 Started Truvada/Prezista/Norvir
07/15/09 CD4 849 (20%) VL 379
09/09/09 CD4 594 (21%) VL 68
01/28/10 CD4 706 (23%) VL 127
05/27/10 CD4 655 (22%) VL 322
07/29/10 CD4 750 (22%) VL 220
10/22/10 CD4 669 (23%) VL 65
12/27/10 CD4 720 (24%) VL 270
03/08/11 CD4 644 (23%) VL 631
07/27/11 CD4 694 (23%) VL <20
03/09/12 CD4 601 (20%) VL UND
11/07/12 CD4 693 (23%) VL UND
04/17/13 CD4 559 (23%) VL UND
11/07/13 CD4 846 (24%) VL UND
03/28/14 CD4 869 (24%) VL UND

Offline mecch

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2013, 09:37:43 PM »
i think it's nice that you're not changing your life plans to do what you want to do. but building up even a two month backup will take quite some time to do, i think that most pharmacies cannot refill a prescription prior to about 7-10 days before the current one expires. so if you go by the 10 days (and i think it's probably closer to 5) then the second prescription puts you only 10 days ahead so in two months, third prescription, assuming a 30 day prescription you'd only be 20 days ahead. based on that you'd have to go 1.5 years (18 months) to get 180 days backup and that's if it's 10 days. anyway something to think about and possibly investigate.

I think the intention is to start filling the prescription months before actually staring the medicine. 
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline ad2san

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2013, 02:43:55 AM »
Well if you are going to build a stock before you go, why would you need anyone to "pick up meds" while you are gone?

Especially you are going to encounter a very high risk to have the meds confiscated by the customs if they are not on sale and/or authorized in the country you are visiting ...
Feb   2009 CD4 358 VL 2000 16%
May  2009 CD4 305 VL 3069  14% <---- Started TVD+ATZ/r
Jul  2009 CD4 512 VL <50   18%
Jul 2010 CD4 418 VL <50 24%                     
Switched to Kivexa (Epzicom) + Norvir + Reyataz (due to sleep problem)
Aug 2010 CD4 606 VL <50 25%
Jul 2011 CD4 494 UD 23%
Switched to Kivexa (Epzicom) + Viramune XR (due to kidney problems)
January 2012 CD4 564 UD 31%
October 2012 CD4 684 UD 29%
January 2013 CD4 594 UD 26%
Switched to Kivexa (Epzicom) + Isentress due to BIG increase GammaGT
Feb 2013 CD4 699 UD 28%
May 2013 CD4 385 UD 28%
July 2013 CD4 CD4 636 UD 25%
Oct 2013 CD4 588 UD 39%
Aug 2014 CD4 639 UD 25%

Offline xasxas

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2013, 07:51:03 AM »
Just to chime in here.  I don't think you need to get meds from the US if you plan your trip well. 

For instance, I am an American that lives in Thailand and you can get very good treatment and meds here for cheap relative to the US. 

My ID doctor costs like a $50 to $100 for an appointment.   He gives me a six month prescription for Atripla, which I get filled at the Anonymous Clinic for about $80 to $100 for a month's supply.  So you can get like 6 months worth of Atripla for about $700.  (Atripla and most drugs are cheap here because as a developing country Gilead cuts prices steeply and also because generics are widely available).

I imagine there are other countries with similar treatment opportunities.

Moreover, I don't know that it would be wise to lug around 6 months worth of drugs around with you as it may raise questions at customs.

I hope it helps and you have loads of fun.



Offline oksikoko

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Re: Traveling with HIV
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2013, 07:55:21 AM »
Go for it, YOLO, carpe diem and other such sayings.

Also, take me with you.

Sincerely,
Lee
Code: [Select]
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. ;-)

 


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