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Author Topic: Just tested positive on February 11  (Read 1270 times)

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Offline kevinazus

  • Member
  • Posts: 23
Just tested positive on February 11
« on: March 04, 2014, 02:25:03 AM »
Hi, my name's Kevin. I'm a 53-year-old gay male living in Arizona. I just tested positive on February 11 and all of this is kind of new to me right now. I haven't kept up with any HIV news or been involved in the gay community for many years (except for an occasional hook up with someone I met online).  I have known that HIV treatment has dramatically improved in the past several years, but until very recently I still thought that anyone who was infected would eventually die from it.

Back in the 80s and 90s living in Texas I had lots of gay friends, went out to clubs frequently, attended some circuit parties, and had a few boyfriends. I also saw many of my friends die from AIDS, including three very close friends who I watched waste away day by day, and get sicker and sicker until they finally died.  My friends and I all knew about HIV and AIDS in those days. It was all over the news back then. I think we all tried to be pretty careful, but everyone I knew did some things that were risky at times, including myself. I have never understood why I was lucky and so many of my friends weren't.

In the mid 90s I just kind of left that whole life, moved away and became an outdoor guide, and have since been living in lots of different places both in the United States and overseas. I have completely lost touch with all of my old friends from those days and currently have virtually no gay friends.

Over the past 25 years or so I have been mostly safe, probably primarily because of the fact that I don't have the opportunity to have sex with other men very often. But I have done some risky things occasionally with an especially good looking guy or after a few too many beers. Looks like the risk has finally caught up with me.

On December 30 I had unprotected anal sex with a really attractive younger guy who swore that he was HIV negative and got tested regularly. I knew it was a stupid thing to do but I did it anyway, immediately regretted it, and afterward felt very anxious and worried. Then a little less than two weeks later on January 9 I got really sick with a high fever, chills and sweats, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, and a nasty rash on my chest and back. I immediately went online to look up the symptoms of HIV seroconversion, and my symptoms were like a checklist for it. I was terrified.

I ordered a home HIV test kit online but then left it in my drawer for a couple of weeks because I was too scared to take it. Finally on February 4 I took the test. After the 20 minutes that you're supposed to wait, the test first appeared to be negative, but then in the next several minutes I started to see a very faint second line. I called the helpline listed on the instructions for the kit and talked to a very nice lady who tried to reassure me that the test was probably negative but recommended that I go to a clinic and get tested.

A week later on February 11, I went to the local county health clinic where they do free HIV testing. After waiting in the lobby from no more than five minutes, I was met by a nurse who did one of the rapid HIV blood tests. Ten minutes later she came back and told me that it was positive. I feel very lucky to have gone to this particular clinic. They are all absolutely amazing.

Immediately after letting me know the results of the test, the nurse escorted me upstairs to meet an HIV case worker. She must have just completely cleared her calendar for the day, because she spent the entire rest of the day with me, filling out paperwork, getting me signed up for insurance on the marketplace, and assuring me that all of my insurance premiums, medical treatment, and meds will be entirely paid for by various foundations and government agencies. I had no idea that this kind of support for people with HIV even existed. When I finally left her office that afternoon I was sent to a lab to have blood drawn to be tested for CD4 count and viral load. Still hard to believe how quickly everything happened as soon as I tested positive.

The following week on February 18, I went back to the clinic where I had a full STD screening and various immunizations. I also met with the caseworker again who confirmed that the Western blot test had also been positive and gave me the results of my other blood test. My CD4 count was 524, 30.6%, and my viral load was 245,000. Those numbers seemed really bad and really scary to me even though the caseworker tried to assure me that they weren't so bad.

A week later on February 25, I had my first appointment with an HIV specialist. He did a physical exam and answered my million questions. He also tried to assure me that my prognosis was pretty good. Next morning I went back to the lab for a genotype blood test as well as a whole battery of other blood tests. Now I am just waiting for the results of the genotype in order to see the doctor again and get started on a treatment regiment, hopefully by March 11 or March 18. I know that treatment is way better these days than it ever used to be, but I'm still very nervous and afraid about what is going to happen and how my life is now going to change.

In the meantime, I have been reading everything I can online about HIV and came across this site. Have been reading all of the posts on this subject for the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure why I finally decided to post myself, I guess just because I would like to make some friends and have someone to talk to about this, even if it's only online. I would also be grateful for any advice from people who are more experienced with all of this than I am.  Just reading the other posts and replies has already been helpful.

I didn't intend for this post to be so long and I apologize for that. I promise to never post anything this long ever again.

Kevin

Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 3,668
  • 31 Years Poz
Re: Just tested positive on February 11
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 12:52:39 PM »
Hello Kevin,

I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis but glad you found your way to us.  There is a wealth of support here and please feel free to ask questions, as you begin to adjust to being poz.  I know you head is spinning, with a million questions and all of this is perfectly normal.  Becoming poz is one of the greatest challenges you will ever face and all I can really offer right now, is that it does get better.

What I can tell you is your numbers look just fine and you are in no immediate danger of becoming sick anytime soon.  I have been poz for 30 years and if I can do it, so can you.  We have incredible medications if you need them and while your life will change, the changes do not have to mean a diminishing in your quality of life.

I suggest you take your time right now and let it all start to sink in.  Allow yourself to feel what it is you feel, without the need to do anything about any of it.  Emotions are neither good nor bad, they just are.  It is the actions that can cause problems and right now, you are in emotional overload, so please give yourself some time to just think and feel.

While we cannot tell you how your journey with HIV will be, we will be there to support you, in any way that we can.

Welcome to the forums.

Joe

Offline kevinazus

  • Member
  • Posts: 23
Re: Just tested positive on February 11
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 11:53:17 PM »
Hey Joe, thanks for the advice.  It is comforting to know that there are lots of people to reach out too.  Man, what an inspiration that you have been dealing with this for 30 years and still doing well, I guess?

My doctor and I have decided that I will be starting with treatment asap.  Hopefully next week.  Just waiting for my genotype results.  Am a little apprehensive about possible side effects, but I think it will be somewhat of a relief just to feel like I'm doing something about it.

Thanks again, Kevin.

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,887
Re: Just tested positive on February 11
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 01:37:41 AM »
Kevin,

Wanted to say hello and welcome you to the forums.  Although, we always say we wish you did not have to find us, but it is what it is and we are glad you did find us.

It is good you went ahead and took that test.  I put my head in the sand for several years.  You will now know where your labs are and can make appropriate decisions. 

Don't apologize for the "long" post.  You have a lot to say.  And, we actually like to hear all someone has to say, so we can get to know you and your situation.  I look forward to hearing more from you. 

All the best!

Ted

 


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