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Thank you so much for this forum!!!!!

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BTW Hal,

Two of my closest and dearest friends are also Cal graduates.  I refer to Berkeley as "The city of kindness". I have met so many kind people who live or have lived here. 



I've got another good bit of news to relay to you then:  At diagnosis, my viral load was off the charts...> 750,000.  
Or, as I like to call it, 'a gazillion infinity squared'.  LOL  That low viral load of his is good took me several months of meds to get DOWN to 26,000.  

Also, to build on Dachshund's excellent post above, I would also suggest that you might want to spread the word about this to any other people you might know who are in a similar position to yourself:  a loved one / caregiver of someone with HIV.  While we poz people can give our two cents, a major goal of this forum is to give a place for people in your roles to talk out issues amongst yourselves and discover/offer solutions to one another.  As more 'caregivers and loved ones' come to discover this forum, you'll end up with a broader support network of indivduals in the same boat as yourself.  I know that network has helped me in untold ways.

Glad you are here!


Hey Tim,

That is good news.  I told him that I read that a VL under 100,000 copies is considered to be "low".  I just got off the phone with him.  There is still another delay regarding his meds due to abnormal liver enzymes.  They also took him off of Mepron and put him on a once a month treatment to prevent the OIs.  I am glad that he has good insurance coverage.  It also seems that the entire medical and support team he is dealing with consists of intelligent and thoughtful people. 

One of the concerns I have has to do with Sustiva.  They are talking about putting him on Sustiva and Truvada and then switiching him to the once a day version (Atripla).  I have known people who have had a rough time on Sustiva, especially with the CNS complications.  Marco is prone to depression, and I am concerned that this drug may impact him detrimentally in this regard.  However, I understand that Sustiva really kicks the virus in the ass, and I want him to have the "Mike Tyson" of anti-retrovirals in his corner.  I just don't want to see him get slammed by it.

He and I discussed having him spend the first few days of meds at his sister's house when I am not there.  This would provide a feeling of comfort and safety and someone to run to if he has bad "Sustiva" dreams.  I also read here that watching erotica before bed on Sustiva allows for some interesting dreams.  Hopefully not all of the side effects will be unpleasant ones.

Today he read some of Ann's blog entries and found them helpful.  I read Jonathan's last blog entry yesterday and was greatly moved. It really ripped into me and gave me more insight.  I am an emotional Italian-American and it is easy to send me to tears.  I try not to cry in front of him, but I cry openly and freely when not at work since all this came down. The thought about caring about what strangers think, or feeling the need to hide my pain seems profoundly unimportant.  Crying actually feels good right now, I feel like I am letting the air out of a big balloon about to burst.  After I cry, I feel stronger.  It is amazing that  something so traditionally associated with weakness gives me strength.  Yet it does.

Thanks again for the information and support.



You sure do strike me as a very intuitive individual!  Yes, if the tears are making you feel stronger, let 'em rip!  I think the crying can be a natural part of the healing process of learning to live with HIV...for yourself or a loved one.  It's a normal response.  While HIV doesn't always signal 'the end' as it once did, it does signal big changes in the way we live.  But they are changes that can be faced and overcome or incorporated into our lives. 

I wish I could tell you more about Sustiva and Truvada from personal experience, but those are not part of my med regimen.  There are lots of threads about those drugs here, as well as information to be found in the 'Drugs' section here.  My own combo is Kaletra and Combivir.  If you have any questions about those, I will be glad to help you out with all I know.  I would advise that you (well, Marco especially) keep the medical team well informed about the history of depression.  That could have an impact on what combo they all mutually agree to try.  I woud also remind you to peek in on the forums 'Treatment Questions' and 'Side Effects'.

I also say that having a family member or other loved one around when getting started on these meds might be a good idea...if Marco is on board with that.  These drugs can really pack a physical punch when your body is first getting adjusted to them.  My combo kicked my fanny for quite some time.  It might help to have a loved one handy- if for no other reason than the comfort of proximity. 


PS-  Jonathan has always been able to turn me inside out with his beautiful words.  What a gift he has!  What a gift he shares!

Gee, I wonder who Marco could be, Scott you are Moron, but a lovable one.


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