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Author Topic: A big deal? Education was my shield.  (Read 2059 times)

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Offline funnyjas03

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A big deal? Education was my shield.
« on: June 08, 2015, 04:42:32 PM »
Hello everyone,

I've been reflecting a lot on my recent diagnoses and I have to say that I think I am the perfect example of how powerful and empowering sexual education can be. I used to work in a sexual health clinic when I was an undergraduate and I am naturally an intellectual so I've stayed pretty current on all things related to sex, STDs, and health. Of course, being diagnosed with HIV was a big deal, but I found a ton of comfort in what I knew to be true, even before I was diagnosed. I never knew how many people are operating with outdated information about HIV until now.

When I found out, I was naturally shocked and had my range of emotions, but none of them were very "negative." It certainly wasn't good news but I wasn't scared, depressed, or lost...just angry with myself because I knew better. I knew I would be fine, I didn't bother with denial, and I got the ball rolling on my treatment the next day. I realize that I'm not ashamed that I have HIV, just ashamed of how I got it, and I'm actually proud of how I was able to manage my human emotions while finding comfort in knowledge and just knowing what to do next.

Anyway, it's been less than 2 months since my diagnosis and I am doing great on Stribild, no noticeable side effects, and my initial numbers were pretty good. My viral load was only 1360 and my CD4 was 690. Turns out my HLA B*5701 test was positive so Triumeq was out, but I had other options so all is well.

I realize that, all things considered, I'm pretty lucky to be getting HIV now as there is a lot of information and resources for us. I see from looking in this forum that many people have a really hard time with their diagnosis, and I can understand that, but I wish more people had correct information because I do believe that will help lessen the blow for those who become positive. It certainly won't become a joyous experience, but a tolerable and manageable one at least.

This website is awesome and I applaud everyone who is here supporting us new folks. Even though the landscape of HIV has changed dramatically over the past few decades, it is still very humbling to see individuals who had to deal with a diagnosis in a...much less forgiving era.

If I have any advice for any fellow newly diagnosed friends, I would say to keep your chin up, be strong, and become informed about your health. Whether you still have a solid immune system and just need to get treatment, or dealing with AIDS, understanding our condition is the first step to fighting it.

Thank you all for your support here! I look forward to becoming a regular visitor.

Offline Jeff G

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 17,061
  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: A big deal? Education was my shield.
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 04:45:53 PM »
Welcome to the forum, look forward to hearing more from you .
HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline xunil

  • Member
  • Posts: 90
Re: A big deal? Education was my shield.
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 01:23:20 PM »
Same here, I knew *way* better too.  My best friend was diagnosed 13 years ago and I went through everything with him during his initial diagnosis, doctors visits, meds, etc.

When I found out in April that I was positive the only real emotion I felt was anger at myself for not making sure this didn't happen.  My partner was naive and always assumed his health care provider was doing a HIV test whenever he had a bunch of labs done yearly for his heart condition.  Well, of course, they were not because he didn't specifically ask for it.  Due to this and knowing I was negative at the time I didn't follow "proper protocol" and neither of us went to specifically get tested together before we had unprotected sex.  So yeah, completely my bad, and I knew better.

Like you I am also glad to be diagnosed now instead of many years ago.  Honestly my doctor said it was better to have the HIV diagnosis than lymphoma like I had thought I had due to swollen lymph nodes for an extended period of time.  They say my prognosis and life expectancy, etc. is sooooooo much better with HIV with less risk and complications, etc.

So I'm just starting treatment and figuring this all out, again, much of it feels like deja vu since I went through all of this with my friend so many years ago.  Strange how the world works.  I certainly don't fear dying from this and I know it will only force me to become a healthier person both physically and mentally.
Diagnosed April 2015
First labs and specialist visit April 2015
Initial appt and labs: CD4 560 and VL 18,000
Started Triumeq June 2015
VL UD after 30 days on Triumeq, CD4 slowly rising.


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