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Author Topic: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?  (Read 7984 times)

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Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« on: February 07, 2007, 02:46:46 PM »
I didn't want to hijack the "What's the big deal with taking meds" thread, so I'll start a new (but slightly related) one. 

I was talking to a forum member the other day about when HIV became 'real'.  For me, just getting the results over the phone of my mail-in home HIV test didn't make it real.  I still felt the same physically and didn't look any differently.  A few days later, I had my first lab work done.  When I got the results, they were not as good as I'd hoped, but things still seemed the same.  I felt the same about subsequent appointments with my ID Dr. and lab results.  Even planning on an Atripla start date of Dec 8, 2006 didn't seem real, but more like just going through the motions of being HIV+.  What made HIV real to me was getting as sick as I did and ending up in the hospital for 8 days with PCP and what happened while I was there.

While I was in the hospital, I began to feel better after the first day (that O2 is a great high!).  I disclosed my HIV status to my mom, dad, and sister.  I also got out a few other 'secrets'.  Seeing and sensing all the concern, fear, and love from a my husband and lot of my family and friends was a turning point.  I'm not in this alone and my well-being and health are not all mine to be selfish about.  Starting treatment was, and still is, a minor thing for me; I've taken Adderall daily for years, so the fact that I HAD to take these meds is no different.  Fortunately, I've not really had any bad side effects, but I know the long-term issues of these drugs might be a problem.  Getting older has its share of issues and side effects too, but I'll have to deal with them as they arise.

I've only known a few people with HIV /AIDS prior to my diagnosis.  I'm fortunate in that I only know one or two that have died from AIDS (or OI's).  HIV was something that people who had a careless moment had or those living in third-world countries suffered from.  It's certainly not something that I ever thought I'd be faced with, but here I am.

The point of this post is what event was the 'turning point' that made HIV / AIDS real to you?

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline DanielMark

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,475
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 02:52:44 PM »
When I woke up in a hospital emergency room five years ago after collapsing in the checkout line of a grocery store, which I have no recall of whatsoever. I tested Poz in 1988. It just took a while to hit me that hard.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 03:00:45 PM »
It became real for me the day I found out. It became more real for me when my sisters decided to disclose  my status to the world. It became real for me when my husband decided to start smoking crack and sold my belongings because he couldn't handle it and eventually left me. It became real when people started telling me the things my sisters were saying about me. It still is real because I am still alone.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

The Royal Blog

Offline hussy_24

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  • Posts: 48
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2007, 03:11:13 PM »
It still is real because I am still alone.

so true, that has been one of the worser things so far to me too

on worlds aids day i sent a few text messages to friends who never replied or cared and probably wouldnt do so until hiv/aids become real for them.


Offline David_CA

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  • Joined: March 2006
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2007, 03:22:06 PM »
so true, that has been one of the worser things so far to me too

on worlds aids day i sent a few text messages to friends who never replied or cared and probably wouldnt do so until hiv/aids become real for them.



I know what you mean.  We have a some 'friends' that have sort of disappeared after our disclosure.  That part really sucks.
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Ihavehope

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  • Yes, I'm a cry baby, AND WHAT?
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2007, 03:24:40 PM »
Yesterday at 6:00pm when I had an AIDS diagnosis.
Infected: April 2005
12/6/06 - Diagnosed HIV positive
12/19/06 - CD4 = 240  22% VL = 26,300
1/4/07 - CD4 = 200 16% VL = ?
2/9/07 = Started Kaletra/Truvada
3/13/07 = CD4 = 386 22% VL ?

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2007, 03:28:12 PM »
It became real for me in early 1983 when I visited a 20 year old friend in the hospital.  Initially I had trouble looking directly at him because he was obviously dying fast.  Besides severe emaciation he had Kaposi's lesions all over his face and arms.  He was on an IV drip and oxygen and in great pain.  Brian was the first of many people I've known who passed away long before they should have. 

When I remember Brian I can't help thinking about how AIDS might have played out in the USA if it hadn't first struck dirty, perverted homosexuals.  I know many people were already infected by 1983 (I think I'm one) but if our wonderful, massive Federal government had attended to AIDS as it had to Legionnaire's disease how many lives might have been saved and how many more are being infected now because HIV was a moral judgment and not a virus?

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline Jeffreyj

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  • Posts: 1,403
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2007, 03:39:22 PM »
It became real for me two weeks after my first blood tests. My DR told me I had HTLVIII... in "84...I was like what the fuck it that. Everyone was dying and no one knew why.

Got very real really fast.  And I was told to take AZT every 4 hours. The good thing about that was I was too f&**ing tired to worry about dying.

And the happy hour continues....:)
Positive since 1985

Offline puertorico2006

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  • Posts: 957
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2007, 03:46:40 PM »
It still is real because I am still alone.

You are not alone :D...but if you feel that way you are not alone in feeling alone (dont know if that made sense lol)


I honestly dont know if it has become real for me or not. When i found out over the phone I was calm and collected and it didnt even affect me (i was driving at the moment)....HIV hastn changed anything so far other than a few inconvenient doctors visits so i cant say its actually "hit" me (although i did go through a period where i researched a lot and it consumed me for a bit)
Infected Probably: may 2005
Diagnosed: 11/2006

11/28/2006 CD4:309 / VL: 1907 No meds yet
12/27/2006 CD4:339/  VL:1649 No meds yet
  4/28/2007 CD4:550/  VL:1800 No meds :-)

Offline ACinKC

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  • Bring it VIRUS! #2 Ranked In-crowd Member!
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2007, 03:57:56 PM »
It becomes real every morning when I take the pills.  And when I talk about kids with my wife.
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline Cliff

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 04:00:28 PM »
Good question, David.  Unfortunately, I don't know if it has become real to me yet.  It didn't when I was on meds, because I started treatment so quickly.  The first few months were a bit numb and then things went back to normal.

Why does it take getting sick for things to shake a person up?   :-[

Offline Sky

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    • Myspace
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2007, 05:34:16 PM »
I would say as soon as I was told.  I don't feel as good as I did when I was negative, but that could be in my head.  Overall, I'm thankful for catching it as soon as I did and educating myself on the subject.
Poz since 2003.

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2007, 06:59:24 PM »
I've had stages of reality hiv/aids reality creeping closer and closer.  When I got infected in 1984, acute retroviral syndrome was, despite the fever and such weakness that I could move from sofa to chair, couldn't stand to brush my teeth or shave, took weeks to get to the grocery store and more weeks to be able to carry one item in a plastic bag, real, but not aids/hiv connected at the same time.  Something was going on, but no one was diagnosing what I had correctly.

When I found out that I was hiv positive by labs in 1986, that was more of a need for quiet time in the park.  Confirmation, but of what?  Numbers to look at, cd4's and cd8's.  Conflicting theories to read. Decisions about meds, to take AZT or not.

When I worked with terminal aids patients, that was staring aids in the face: ks lesions; emaciation; exhaustion; panic; homelessness; lack of food.  Those heartbreaking conversations around aids with guys who knew that they were dying.  But this was happening to 'them' and not to me, so it became at times less 'real' to me. 

Now?  On meds?  The initial side effects overcome?  23 years later and still here, it has become less real than it was back long ago. Thank you for the thread/question, David.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Blixer

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2007, 07:21:45 PM »
There have been some very interesting response here.  I guess this is another one of those things that differs widely from person to person.

For me, it became real that Monday afternoon, just over 1 year ago, when I sat in my doctor's office and she came in, sat down, and said "I've got some bad news, your HIV test came back positive."  That was a defining moment in my life.  I suddenly came face to face with my mortality.  I could no longer think that it was something that happened to others, but not to me.  I never doubted the results.  I never questioned the reality of it.  I accepted it, had a bit of a panic attack, and began the process of finding out as much information as I could and finding the best doctor that I could.  And here I am, just over a year later, much smarter than I was and moving on with my life. 
David
Diagnosed 1/9/06
8/27/2007 CD4 598, 29%, VL 58 (72 wks)
11/19/2007 CD4 609, 30%, VL < 50 (84 wks)
2/11/2008 CD4 439, 27%, VL <50 (96 wks)
5/5/2008 CD4 535, 28%, VL <50 (108 wks)
10/20/2008 CD4 680, 28%, VL <50 (132 wks)
Changed to Atripla in 2012
1/14/2013 CD4 855, 35%, VL <40

Offline Teresa

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2007, 07:34:58 PM »
It became "real" to me while I was getting my first HIV test. For the first time I watched as she stuck the needle in my arm,(I had always turned my head before)  watched the blood flow in the tube and wondered if it had HIV in it.

Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline tsw923

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  • Posts: 174
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2007, 07:55:45 PM »
It became real for me on 9/23/06 (my 37th birthday) when I went to CVS to get my medicine so that I could start taking it that night.  I felt like there should have been a big sign over my head as I met a 'blind date' for drinks after picking up my meds.  For the first time ever I thought, 'Why am I bothering, if I tell him I have HIV he will be history.'  I was real when I met my pregnant girlfriend and her husband for dinner.  I remember wondering that if I told her, would she leave so she wouldn't 'catch it'. 

It became painfully real when I disclosed to my old boyfriend on the day we met again after 15 years.  I had already prepared myself for his rejection, but was happily surprised when he held me and told me he still loved me. 

It became real again when I finally told my mom.  And its real every time she looks at me and asks if I'm well because I can't seem to kick this danged cold.

Its real every time I sit with my closest family members and want to tell them, but stop myself... 

Ty
Help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related cancers by sponsoring me as I walk a 1/2 marathon as a part of the Maryland chapter of Team in Training.  To find out more and to donate, please click on the following site:  http://www.active.com/donate/tntmd/tswtntmd

Offline AlanBama

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2007, 08:00:21 PM »
Like Jeffrey, mine became VERY real when I had to start taking AZT every 4 hours.   I went to Radio Shack and bought a pill box with a timer (that's what we did in those days).  That's every 4 hours, round the clock.....so the timer had to be set to go off during the night.....you are guzzling toxic pills, feeling like hell, feverish, sick, nauseated, can't get any sleep because of the damn alarm, and you still continue to try to work full time and pretend that nothing is wrong......

Then, the nightmare got tragic when I got my "AIDS diagnosis" in 1991; I lost 35 pounds, was in a wheel chair with home nurses coming every day, taking IV's through a pic line, and given a prognosis of 6 months.

It's been a LONG 6 months.......

Those dark days seem like a bad dream when I look back on them; like a story or a play, but that was really my life.   I am so blessed, it brings tears to my eyes to think about it.    No, you will never hear me complain about having to swallow ANY kind of pills.   I am so thankful to have them, because believe me, no one wants AIDS to do to your body what it did to mine.   So take those meds boys and girls  ;)

We've all got a long way to go in this journey.

Hugs,
Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline Blixer

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2007, 08:11:35 PM »
Alan, I'm so glad that it turned out to be a LONG 6 months....    And your story brought some tears to my eyes.  I know that I'm so lucky to be diagnosed today.  It's still a long journey, but there is so much more hope now.  Thanks for sharing that!
David
Diagnosed 1/9/06
8/27/2007 CD4 598, 29%, VL 58 (72 wks)
11/19/2007 CD4 609, 30%, VL < 50 (84 wks)
2/11/2008 CD4 439, 27%, VL <50 (96 wks)
5/5/2008 CD4 535, 28%, VL <50 (108 wks)
10/20/2008 CD4 680, 28%, VL <50 (132 wks)
Changed to Atripla in 2012
1/14/2013 CD4 855, 35%, VL <40

Offline jyngfilm

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  • AHH! I knew it, Betty had balls
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2007, 08:28:06 PM »
As you well know David, we were diagnosed about the same time (I think) Feb 06. We chose different paths. I buried my head in the sand and didn't seek medical attention till Jan 07. I went straight to AIDS diagnosis because of it. So..it wasn't real. Now I'm still in good health, taking Atripla, have my first new labs tomorrow. It's still not real. God as my witness, I believe I could make it more REAL if it were a brain tumor, or leukemia.
Today, tonight...I'm not sure it's real till it kills me. I just dont like it.
~jordon
munchausen by proxy is not an out in my case

Offline Nico

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2007, 08:41:00 PM »
For me it became real when the man I fell in love with told me he was poz (the one I am still with 17 years later).  On a lesser plain, when I found out, I was poz after being infected almost 11 years later my azz was kicked when I was diagnosed with PCP, then kidney failure, the C-diff, the PN..... 

I then pulled my head out my own azz and diagnosis code 042  (AIDS) "it" became a real thing to me.  I guess, I am a slow starter/learner...but catching up.

Now, I am the driver of my virus.  I drive my doc crazy, but I think she likes it since I come prepared and do my research.  I am not planning of leaving my partner or my life anytime soon.

I am still here and hope to be for a long time.

That's all....
Roger
Poz since 1990.

Offline dtwpuck

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  • дано мне тело, что мне делать с ним?
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2007, 08:53:20 PM »
It became real for me when I opened my email one day in January, 2000.... "I thought you would like to know that Jimmie died yesterday."   I had no idea he was so sick.  Jimmie is probably who infected me, and he stands out as the biggest unreconciled relationship of my life.  I realized that moment that I, too, could die from this.
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline Blixer

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2007, 08:58:57 PM »
As you well know David, we were diagnosed about the same time (I think) Feb 06. We chose different paths. I buried my head in the sand and didn't seek medical attention till Jan 07. I went straight to AIDS diagnosis because of it. So..it wasn't real. Now I'm still in good health, taking Atripla, have my first new labs tomorrow. It's still not real. God as my witness, I believe I could make it more REAL if it were a brain tumor, or leukemia.
Today, tonight...I'm not sure it's real till it kills me. I just dont like it.
~jordon

Jordan,
I guess I was lucky.  No denial only panic.  Of course, that has kind of been my style throughout life.  I think it may be because of some of the things I have dealt with in the past.  I have kind of been blessed with an outllook that life isn't fair sometimes, but I'm gonna make the best of it.  And I've always been one to search out the answers.  So when I found out I had HIV I started doing lots of reading and research and talking to others.  By the time the doc said it was time for meds, I was ready.  At least you are doing what you need to do now to keep you healthy.  Whether it is yet "real" to you or not, you are doing what it takes.  And sometimes, we do need to kind of "bypass" it for our own mental well being.  Best of luck.
David
Diagnosed 1/9/06
8/27/2007 CD4 598, 29%, VL 58 (72 wks)
11/19/2007 CD4 609, 30%, VL < 50 (84 wks)
2/11/2008 CD4 439, 27%, VL <50 (96 wks)
5/5/2008 CD4 535, 28%, VL <50 (108 wks)
10/20/2008 CD4 680, 28%, VL <50 (132 wks)
Changed to Atripla in 2012
1/14/2013 CD4 855, 35%, VL <40

Offline RAB

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  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2007, 09:07:40 PM »
When did "it" become real?

For me it became real when my heart was so broken I couldn't cry anymore.

For me it became real when I was so scared and so desperate I would have done absolutely anything I could to squeeze one more set of acceptable labs, if for no other reason than to buy me time.

For me it became real when in the reality of what was happening I was so desperate that I tried an unapproved treatment called Compound Q, which led to the loss of my spleen, which led to a deep internal thrombosis, which led to a serious decline of my overall health status, which led to PCP (X3), which led to. . . . . .well so the story goes.

For me it became real when, for some reason I still don't comprehend, my doctor looked me in the eye and said:  "Your VL is <400, it's what some call undetectable."

For me it became real when I dared to acknowledge the fact that maybe, just maybe, the good news wasn't some sort of sick joke.

For me it became real when I saw the transformation of having more silicone injected in my face than most women have in their breasts to reverse the lipoatrophy.

For me it's real because I'm sitting here at 6:00 p.m. on February 7, 2007, a time and place I never could have imagined.

For me it's real because I made the best decisions I could, given the information I had at the time.  Wasn't always "right" in hindsight, but here I am--still.

TAKE THAT FRIGGIN HIV!

RAB


Offline RapidRod

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2007, 09:37:16 PM »
Must have been 1982 when two of my friends died of AIDS.

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2007, 10:41:38 PM »


  September 8, 2005..  As I sat in church during my sister in law's funeral.  She had just died from complications brought on by AIDS and I was waiting the results of a western blot test..
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline racingmind

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2007, 11:01:19 PM »
It became real to me the first time (after my diagnosis) when I woke up soaking wet in the middle of the night and realized that the whole thing was NOT just a bad dream... :(

It's also very real to me when I have to have blood drawn (I hate needles!)
Tested Negative: 5/06
Tested Positive: 9/06 
9/06: CD4: 442 (28%) VL: +100,000
10/06: CD4: 323 (25%) VL: 243,440
11/06: CD4: 405 (28%) VL: 124,324
12/06: CD4: 450 (29%) VL: 114,600
1/07: CD4: 440 (27%) VL: 75,286
3/07: CD4: 459 (30%) VL: 44,860
5/07: CD4: 353 (24%) VL: 50,852
7/07: CD4: 437 (29%) VL: 39,475
9/07: CD4: 237 (32%) VL: 372,774
10/07: CD4: 324 (27%) VL: 115,454 
Started Atripla: 10/07
11/07: CD4: 524 (?%) VL: Undetectable!
2/08: CD4: 653 (35%) VL: undetectable
5/08: CD4: 822 (40%) VL: undetectable
8/08: CD4: 626 (35%) VL: undetectable
12/08: CD4: 619 (36%) VL: undetectable
3/09: CD4: 802 (38%) VL: undetectable
7/09: CD4: 1027 (43%) VL: not tested
10/09: CD4: 1045 (43%) VL: undetectable

Offline Life

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2007, 11:20:05 PM »
It still is becoming real for me..... Process, not a destination..

Offline DanKenny

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2007, 12:51:45 AM »
It became real to me when I held him in my arms, and felt the niddle prick his arms and had to console him
It became real to me when I finally accepted the fact that my then 4 year old son has tested positive
It became real to me when I helped him swallow his medications
It became real to me when I had to constantly clean him (the pukes and the runs) during the adjustment phase
It became real to me when I saw him thrive, with the help of the ARVs.

But

It became really real to ME when I submitted myself to the test
It became real to me when I found out I am positive

It is still real to me
~~ whenever I give meds to my son
~~ whenever I see/hear the words: HIV, AIDS
~~ whenever I worry over my own mortality

It is still real to me
My Progress:

09/07:   771   ~    <50     ~   29%
03/07:   493   ~    227      ~   22%
02/07:   Began Meds ~~ ATRIPLA
01/07:   315   ~   45, 000  ~   18%
10/06:   350   ~   32, 430  ~   22%
04/06:   440   ~   23, 997  ~   24%
07/05:   621   ~   36,000   ~   24%
01/05:   842   ~   2306      ~   28%
07/04:   615   ~   3370      ~   27%
04/04:   674   ~   739        ~   26%
11/03:   439   ~   2800      ~   22%
Infected probably around 1997 / Diagnosed 2002

Offline bear60

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2007, 08:28:28 AM »
Simply put....HIV became real to me when my friends here in Philadelphia started getting sick and dying. I remember thinking....maybe we will be spared....or that HIV will skip over us......but no. After the death of one close friend in New York City in the late 80's, it was real.  After the death of 15 to 20 close friends here in Philadelphia, it was super real.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline sunflower99

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2007, 08:48:46 AM »
Dear DanKenny!
I am crying when I read your post. As a mother myself I know of the terror of having your children tested.
I pray your son is doing ok.

Love from me

Offline Christine

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2007, 10:46:43 AM »
It became real to me twice. First time when the test came back positive. Second time when I almost died in 2001. I realized how fast things can happen, and how fragile life is.
Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline Hawkeye

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2007, 10:47:34 AM »
This bacame real to me when my fiancee's gyno called us into her office, and delivered the news that my fiancee was pos.  I was in total shock for the first two days, but as soon as I educated myself on it, I felt so much better about her and our future together.

Offline ademas

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2007, 11:21:08 AM »
It became real to me sometime in '83, when people I knew began to get sick and die.
Then it went to surreal for about a decade.
Back to real in '93 when both my ex's passed away, and '94 when I finally tested and received my diagnosis.

Offline Brandy Dawn

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2007, 11:46:44 AM »
first I'd like to say hello to everyone I'm new here, but I'm not new to hiv Ive been poz for 10 years and had an aids diagnose for 8, I'm undetectable and my CD4 is at 459 the highest its ever been woo hoo  ;D to answer the question its was real from the moment the doctor came in and said"Brandy do you know what HIV is" I remember I thought oh my god what about my baby you see I was 3 months pregnant with my son Wade ( he is neg) it might of taken me longer to become real to me if not for him.
Oh one more thing I want to say Hello David honey long time no see.Fancy running in to you here  :D

Brandy Dawn             
live in the moment

"what if everything we see and seem is nothing more then a dream within a dream"
                                                                                                  -Poe
Brandy Dawn
Live in the Moment

"What if everything we see and seem is nothing more then a dream within a dream"
-Poe

Offline marco23

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2007, 11:57:34 AM »
What a beautiful thread...I'm teary eyed by reading all these posts.
I felt numb and dirty when I first tested positive in 93, I thought I was going to die within that month....but nothing happened. Until 2003, I had gone to the Doctor because I had gotten soo sick, with the results from the blood work, he said that I should've been in the hospital. He was surprised that I wasn't hospitalized.  I was classified as having AIDS and he ordered for me to get on medications the following day.
When I heard the Dr. say I was classified as having AIDS, that was all I heard for the rest of the day, and when I had to tell my mom - that was heartbreaking.  Being an only child, it wasn't easy.
That was when it finally became real to me.
Don't hide your hurt, pain and feelings inside..for they will harden your heart.

Offline Ann

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2007, 12:45:41 PM »
I think it first became real to me one day in early 1985 when I boarded a crowded New York subway train. There was a man sitting on one of the long benches with nobody sat any where near him on either side - despite how crowded the train was. He was emaciated and had KS lesions on his face. I knew immediately that he was dying - and why. I sat next to him... right next to him. He looked at me with eyes that spoke volumes of the pain he was in, smiled, and said "thank you". I simply smiled back and said, "you're welcome".

It became real for me in a more personal and immediate sense on February 22, 2001, when I walked into a room in the local GUM clinic and the first thing the nurse did was slide a box of Kleenex over to my side of the desk. I knew my test result in that instant and it became all too real.

Ann
xxx
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"...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

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2007, 01:36:26 PM »
It became real for me the day I found out the results of my HIV test  in May 1986. Then the doc told me she couldn't be my Dr. anymore. She said she had a new baby & had to protect herself for her daughter. She told me to find a new Dr.

Dan

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2007, 01:37:28 PM »
It became real for me in a more personal and immediate sense on February 22, 2001, when I walked into a room in the local GUM clinic and the first thing the nurse did was slide a box of Kleenex over to my side of the desk.

Wow, talk about bad body language!  At least when I was told the kleenex was offered after the nurse volunteer informed me.  What made it odd was she is an old friend and didn't realize I was the "number" she had to tell.   I think she was more in shock than I was. 

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline allanq

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2007, 02:49:03 PM »
It still is becoming real for me..... Process, not a destination..

My experience is the same as Eric's. There hasn't been one great event that made AIDS "real" to me. Over the years, there have been a number of events that have made the reality of AIDS settle in:

   The death of my friend Jim in 1985. He was the first of many dear friends to die of AIDS.
   My own diagnosis in 1988.
   Starting to take meds in 1989.
   Developing severe nausea and wasting around 1994. It lasted for nearly six months.
   Having to leave work on disability in 1995.
   Disclosing my status to my family in 1997.
   A bad case of molluscum around 2002 that covered my cheeks and chin and made me not want to leave the house.
   Every time I go to the doctor's office, have lab work done, or have to deal with my health insurance company over incorrect bills.
Top (Breakfast): Prezista, Norvir, Isentress, Zoloft (2), Glyburide (2), Aspirin
Bottom right (Dinner): Prezista, Norvir, Isentress
Bottom left (Bedtime): Sustiva, Trazodone (2), Lipitor, Septra (no longer taking this)
Center: Alprazolam (Xanax)
Not shown: various vitamins & supplements

Offline mjmel

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2007, 03:41:25 PM »
In the early/mid '80s when I was bartending in one of the bars in New Orleans. First, there were the rumors going around of wards of people in New York dying and then people started disappearing in New Orleans; then co-workers started to die. So many, many friends and three of my past lovers gone in a matter of two or three years. Some of them from diagnosis to death in a matter of months. It was so sudden and frequent that it was absoluteshock. There have been many more awakenings but that time period strikes as even more difficult than my own diagnosis in '89. I guess by then I was just numb from toll of the many thousands of deaths both close and afar.

Offline tom_1950

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2007, 04:24:15 PM »
AIDS became real for me when the nurse gave me my blood test results and left the room...I knew why when I got to page 3 of the test results **WARNING ABNORMAL RESULT*** HIV+,  yep that was me.  In a few minutes the doctor came in with a continuous sentance.. what have you done? are you gay? do you know your test results will be sent to CDC? you can never buy insurance again, who did you get HIV from?... on and on until he stopped when I asked the question:  "does this mean I will die soon". I guess he must have figured that I really had heard nothing he was saying...

I had no idea what to expect and then have the third degree and being felt as if I had committed a crime.

He did send me to a good doctor, who treated my PCP (I could hardly walk across the room without gasping for air), also CMV, MAC and brought up my CD4 count.  Initial count was CD4 - 36, at 3% and Viral Load of 100K.

1 1/2 years later CD4 - 424, 21%, and viral load undetectable.  YES... I feeling great and my wife stayed with me the entire time.   ;D


Offline Alain

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2007, 04:57:33 PM »
.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 08:01:29 AM by cowandalehouse »

Offline JPinLA

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2007, 05:58:53 PM »
Today when my Dr. called to say my CD4 levels are low enough to start talking about medication.  When I first found out I was completely numb and in denial until now. 

11/06 - Diagnosed - VL/5784 & CD4 326
2/07 - VL/6000 & CD4 290 2/07
3//07 -Began Truvada/Viramune 
4/07 VL/undetectable and CD4 320 22%
7/07 VL/undetectable and CD4 286 22%
11/07 VL/undetectable and CD4 302 26%

Offline jyngfilm

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2007, 08:50:13 PM »
hang in there jpinLA. you've got a lot of good friends here. reach out if you need to.  ~jordon
munchausen by proxy is not an out in my case

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2007, 10:21:42 PM »
The personal turning point for when it became real for me was when I finally had no choice but to start meds.  I had gotten sick, was too fatigued to do much more than lay in bed--I slept in my car between college classes and even frequently fell asleep during class and struggled to walk to class, and my CD4 had plummeted to where I crossed over from having HIV to AIDS.  Even my dad was of the impression that as long as I had "just HIV" and not the dreaded A-word, that had implications that I didn't really have anything to worry about, life could go on as usual.  But AIDS, my goodness, that brings to mind images much worse.

As for when HIV/AIDS became real to me other than personally, I have no other stories.  I am too young to really remember when the epidemic was at its worst--I only really know by reading and studying and hearing other people's stories.  I knew there was a family friend with AIDS, but I never was taken to meet this guy.  In school, they gave mentions of Ryan White and Magic Johnson, but there was nothing really close to home.  Even though I was going in medicine, I knew I'd eventually see a case, but I never had dreamed I would ever personally be affected by it--I was definitely wrong in that regard.
Lucas James is here
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Offline englishgirl

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2007, 03:34:34 PM »
not sure if this is the right thread to put this on but seems kind of relevant as i was wanting to ask a question about whether starting to feel like i'm totally losing my mind 18 months after diagnosis is related to the diagnosis/my status or whether it is totally unrelated.
 
i always thought i was dealing with everything well. i was actually surprised that i hadnt cracked up, and for months was expecting to and didnt. i knew exactly when and from whom i had contracted, and continued to emotionally support him even when i was unsure whether he had deliberately infected me (he had told me he was negative). i did my usual thing of telling lots of people while drunk, had a bit of a 'i can change the world' moment, but since then have thought i was pretty much dealing with it. when he dumped me i wasnt exactly ecstatic but generally i thought i was putting a pretty positive (no pun intended) spin on things. i have never blamed myself or anyone else, never thought 'what if', have done some positive speaking, gone to support groups, and have even said that having this makes my longstanding clinical depression better cos now i have something to fight against.

but in the last couple of months i have started to feel more and more stressed out, to the point where i dont know if i should be going to work because i am so highly strung. i cant put up my antidepressants any more, i have started going to a (truly useless) psychotherapist (but that's the national health service for you and sadly i cant afford to go to the priory), i sleep all the time, and i have missed so much work that i have to go and see occupational health. i went to the doctor today and while i was crying in his office telling him that i couldnt cope and i didnt know what to do he helpfully suggested that i do some exercise and then basically threw me out because he had to see the next patient!!!!

i really dont know if this is because i have unresolved issues with the diagnosis/my own mortality/feeling alone/whatever or whether this is just me being depressed, but i am so tense that i feel like i am having a very mild ongong panic attack. i have barely ever cried about my status (is that normal?) and wonder if this is a case of being in emotional denial for the last 18 months and it now becoming too much to bear...

is this it becoming real? am i having a breakdown?

any thoughts?

thanks xxxx
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Offline manchesteruk

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2007, 03:51:56 PM »
Hi englishgirl,

Sorry to hear things aren't going so well for you.  Firstly was the unhelpful doctor your ID doctor or just your GP?  You really shouldn't have to put up with that and you can change Dr's on the NHS it's not too hard to do I handpicked mine!  Secondly it's hard for us to tell what may be causing your stress and anxiety I suspect it may be a number of things.  You mention long standing depression was this around before your diagnosis?  It certainly sounds to me that your diagnosis sounds particulary traumatic expecially not knowing if your ex had deliberately infected you or not that would a lot for anyone to deal with.  Rest assured though you have found a good place here.  I don't know how I would have got through my diagnosis without this place.  I'd suggest to maybe put your last message in a new topic so you can introduce yourself?  There are people here who can give amazing advice they've been through it all!

Chris
Diagnosed 11/05

"Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

Offline englishgirl

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2007, 04:14:44 PM »
hi chris
thanks for the suggestion, i think i will start a new thread - it cant just be me who wonders about delayed reactions?!!
the evil doctor was a gp. not my usual one, he was on holiday - boo
just out of interest what are your thoughts on disclosing to your gp? mine doesnt know
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"I'm not keen on the idea of the afterlife - not without knowing who else will be there and what the entertainment will be. Personally I'd rather just take a rest." Oscar Berger, PWA: Looking AIDS in the Face, 1996. RIP.

Offline fearless

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2007, 01:07:55 AM »
1989, when 5 of my 6 closest friends died from AIDS
Be forgiving, be grateful, be optimistic

Offline joemutt

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Re: When Did HIV / AIDS Become "Real" to You?
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2007, 01:23:36 AM »
Returning to Thailand in September 95 when I tried to call my previous year's summer BF and the line was disconnected
and then I walked to his apartment and the concierge who spoke little English kept repeating 'hospital, hospital'
but actually he was dead and then I thought 'this is not the end of it'
and it wasn't and it still isn't.

 


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