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Author Topic: My latest numbers  (Read 3077 times)

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Offline NewYorkKat

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My latest numbers
« on: February 13, 2007, 12:34:54 PM »
I got a call from the research center and next week we go over what is the next step. So let me know what any of you think of my latest numbers:

Dec 06- CD4-744   VL:8744

Jan 30,07 CD4- 495 VL: 3085

Feb 7, 07, 415 VL: 7045

any comments or suggestions?

Offline Ann

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2007, 01:30:37 PM »
Hi Kat,

Your numbers are great - especially that low viral load. Do you know what your CD4% is? That's an important number too. If you don't know what the CD4% means, check out this lesson: http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/1122_4727.shtml

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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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

Offline Ihavehope

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2007, 01:32:29 PM »
Good numbers.

Congrats.
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: My latest numbers
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2007, 01:53:59 PM »
Kat,

I am one of those in the "conservative" camp who believes HAART should be delayed as long as your immune system is still healthy (and there are no other HIV/AIDS issues).   Current CDC treatment guidelines recommend that one start HAART by the time the CD4 count drops below 350 (but above 200) and continues to stay at a low level.  The old guidelines used a CD4 count of 500 or below but the newer guidelines were adopted based on the assumption your immune system is still intact and working at the 350 - 500 level.  A viral load as low as yours is practically insignificant.  If your vl goes above 100,000 the CDC recommends starting HAART depending on the CD4 count.

Why is deciding to start HAART so important?  Because once you begin it is a commitment for the rest of your life (or until a cure is found, but don't hold your breath).  HAART is another name for chemotherapy so starting meds means you will be taking toxic substances which can have unpleasant short-term and long-term side effects, and some effects are worse than others.  Since AIDS has been around about 25 years and drug treatments about 20, no one knows how long people can take current meds without suffering from dangerous side effects or without having drug resistance develop. 

In my case I refused to start HAART until October, 2004, when my CD4 dropped to 169.  I had not meant to let it get that low but I put off getting lab work for 5 months.  I have never had an opportunistic infection or any other symptom (besides constant fatigue but that started 17 years ago) of AIDS and since beginning meds my CD4 has gone up and my viral load has remained undetectable.  My reasoning is that I can be somewhat certain I'll be able to take meds at least for the next 20 years but if I'd started sooner I might be able to go only 10 years.  At 51 if I live 20 more years I'll probably be ready to kick the bucket by then, anyway...

The other side of the argument is you should start HAART before it damages your immune system too much but the problem is no one is completely sure when that is.  Obviously when one starts getting OIs the immune system needs help.    If you stay healthy and free of OIs with a CD4 count in the 350 - 500 range it seems, on the face of it, wise to wait to start HAART.  However, if "we" are wrong and undetected damage is done to the immune system after the CD4 drops below 500 then starting at 350 may mean a less desirable outcome. 

That explanation cleared everything up, didn't it??  Maybe I should get a job writing instruction manuals for electronic equipment.

Anyway, good luck!

Boo
« Last Edit: February 13, 2007, 01:58:32 PM by Boo Radley »
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 Ihavehope

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2007, 01:59:53 PM »
Kat,

HAART is another name for chemotherapy so starting meds means you will be taking toxic substances which can have unpleasant short-term and long-term
I don't think you can compare HAART with chemotherapy. It's also not helping people who are recently infected and are reading through these threads to compare to something else. HAART is HAART, potent drugs that supress your VL. No one is arguing with the toxicity of the drugs but it is not wise to compare it to chemo.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2007, 02:02:02 PM by Ihavehope »
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: My latest numbers
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2007, 02:17:50 PM »
I don't think you can compare HAART with chemotherapy. It's also not helping people who are recently infected and are reading through these threads to compare to something else. HAART is HAART, potent drugs that supress your VL. No one is arguing with the toxicity of the drugs but it is not wise to compare it to chemo.

Excuse me, Ihave, but HAART is most definitely chemotherapy.  AZT, the first drug used against HIV, was taken from the shelves of the NIH where it sat unused since its development for cancer chemo that proved ineffective.  All of the existing HAART drugs are toxic (just swallow a bottle full if you doubt me).

Definition of chemotherapy from Dictionary.com:

"The treatment of disease using chemical agents or drugs that are selectively toxic to the causative agent of the disease, such as a virus, bacterium, or other microorganism."

It's important for HIV+ people to know and acknowledge this fact.  I am not trying to scare or upset anyone.  I'm simply pointing out a medical fact that too many people, including those infected with HIV, are not aware of.  That is one reason why the question of when to begin HAART is so important.  Until we have non-toxic therapies we are relying on drugs that may (and in many cases do) eventually harm the human body.

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 Ihavehope

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  • Yes, I'm a cry baby, AND WHAT?
Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2007, 02:32:48 PM »
Ok Boo.

If it makes you happy and if you feel it necessary to state that HAART is chemotherapy then you are entitled to expressing that, I just don't see a purpose in including it since the standard definition of Chemotherapy is:

the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific toxic effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue. 

The one above is the most comonly referred to definition of chemotherapy. The one you posted is also a definition of chemotherapy but not commonly reffered to by mainstream. I am not saying you are wrong about the definition but if you believe that your comment will encourage people to make the right choice then good for you.

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 mjmel

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2007, 02:42:25 PM »
Boo wrote: It's important for HIV+ people to know and acknowledge this fact.  I am not trying to scare or upset anyone.  I'm simply pointing out a medical fact that too many people, including those infected with HIV, are not aware of.  That is one reason why the question of when to begin HAART is so important.  Until we have non-toxic therapies we are relying on drugs that may (and in many cases do) eventually harm the human body.

Want to focus on this aspect of his reply. So true. AIDS fighting drugs are toxic. I accepted that sad, disheartening fact a long, long time ago. It's part of the ride. I believe it was newt (aka Matt) who stated in another thread that some of medicinal reactions are dependent partially on genetics. I have always believed that with regard to a body's' "toughness". A doctor worth his salt will explain this toxicity to any and all who start on aids meds. Or should. I suppose to a newcomer this could be a little daunting. Maybe that's why some docs may wait to bit to disclose it.

Sorry NewYorkKat, It's not the topic here. But it's something you will think about for the future, so I'll submit the post.

Offline koi1

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2007, 09:09:59 PM »
New York Kat,

As someone who has had a brother in law go through chemo, I can tell you right now that I would go through aidsmeds 100 times sooner than I would chemotherapy. Of course my brother in law had no choice. Treatments have changed. And yes you could argue that they are using chemicals, but all medications are chemicals. So is everything chemotherapy? Is daily aspirin therapy chemotherapy?

The decision to start meds is personal one but fear will not help anyone. Sit calmly with your doc and read through many of the threads here to get a more balanced account of the actual experience people are having with meds. It ain't no walk in the park, but chemo is a walk in the park with needles, broken, glass and hot coals.

rob
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
Drawn 02/10/07
cd4=160 viral load= 131 percentage= 8%
New labs 3/10/07 (two months on sustiva truvada
cd4 count 292  percentage 14 viral load undetectable

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2007, 09:37:21 PM »
NewYorkKat,

I apologize for this post and I hope you've read my PM about the whole issue of "HAART = chemotherapy."  Several people write about how terrible cancer chemo was for someone but that's not relevant.  What is relevant is that we must understand what we are committing to when we begin HAART and that the drugs in current use, some of which are already known to be toxic long-term, will need another 10 - 20 years of use before anyone can truthfully announce HIV is a chronic medical condition.  Don't tear your hair out or get depressed, just educate yourself about the facts of living with HIV.


the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific toxic effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue. 

The one above is the most comonly referred to definition of chemotherapy. The one you posted is also a definition of chemotherapy but not commonly reffered to by mainstream. I am not saying you are wrong about the definition but if you believe that your comment will encourage people to make the right choice then good for you.

Who taught you how to read a dictionary?  The enumeration of definitions denotes nothing but that there is more than one definition. Let me show you a rather long example:

stone     [stohn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation, noun, plural stones for 1–5, 7–19, stone for 6, adjective, adverb, verb, stoned, ston·ing.
–noun
1.   the hard substance, formed of mineral matter, of which rocks consist.
2.   a rock or particular piece or kind of rock, as a boulder or piece of agate.
3.   a piece of rock quarried and worked into a specific size and shape for a particular purpose: paving stone; building stone.
4.   a small piece of rock, as a pebble.
5.   precious stone.
6.   one of various units of weight, esp. the British unit equivalent to 14 pounds (6.4 kg).
7.   something resembling a small piece of rock in size, shape, or hardness.
8.   any small, hard seed, as of a date; pit.
9.   Botany. the hard endocarp of a drupe, as of a peach.
10.   Pathology.
a.   a calculous concretion in the body, as in the kidney, gallbladder, or urinary bladder.
b.   a disease arising from such a concretion.
11.   a gravestone or tombstone.
12.   a grindstone.
13.   a millstone.
14.   a hailstone.
15.   Building Trades. any of various artificial materials imitating cut stone or rubble.
16.   Printing. a table with a smooth surface, formerly made of stone, on which page forms are composed.
17.   (in lithography) any surface on which an artist draws or etches a picture or design from which a lithograph is made.
18.   a playing piece in the game of dominoes, checkers, or backgammon.
19.   Usually, stones. testes.
–adjective
20.   made of or pertaining to stone.
21.   made of stoneware: a stone mug or bottle.
22.   stonelike; stony; obdurate: a stone killer; stone strength.
–adverb
23.   completely; totally (usually used in combination): stone cold.
–verb (used with object)
24.   to throw stones at; drive by pelting with stones.
25.   to put to death by pelting with stones.
26.   to provide, fit, pave, line, face or fortify with stones.
27.   to rub (something) with or on a stone, as to sharpen, polish, or smooth.
28.   to remove stones from, as fruit.
29.   Obsolete. to make insensitive or unfeeling.

Of all the definitions the only one qualified in any sort of "rank" is #29 since the term is obsolete.

Ihave, what you and others are saying is the word chemotherapy scares people.  You worry a newly infected person might be reluctant to start HAART if she/he was scared by the word.  I worry that a newly infected person (or, worse, a negative person) will assume HAART is a stroll in the park because, as we all know, AIDS was cured in the 1990s.   Don't call it chemotherapy if it makes you happier but do recognize the drugs we are all taking haven't been used long enough to claim we'll have clear sailing for the next 20 or more years. 

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 dtwpuck

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2007, 07:07:28 AM »
Hi Kat... 

This is not a political issue, or an issue of what word could be best used to describe the nature of the meds.

Your numbers are good.  If you are worried about them, I suggest getting reassurance from your doc.  If he/she feels that there is a reason that you should go on meds, then I suggest you get a very clear explanation why, and perhaps a second opinion.

When and if you decide to go on meds, this should be a decision made by you and your doctor.  They are not always easy, and some of us have suffered through some pretty difficult side effects.  And, frankly, some of us would be dead without them.  So, the tradeoff is pretty clear.  Just remember when you are reading about all the side effects that not all of them are experienced by everyone.  The drug companies are required to warn you of the worst case scenarios.  So don't panic,  get informed,  and be glad that your numbers are doing well.

By the way... the lessons and drugs tabs on this website are highly informative. 

puck
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline NewYorkKat

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Re: My latest numbers
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2007, 12:34:12 PM »
my percentage in the first set was 21%.

the second though the T-cell dropped went up to 22%.

Don;t know the other percetage as I will go over with my doctor on that. So far I feel fine and been eating right and taking vitamans, selenuim and focusing on my school work.

I'll keep you posted and guys, RELAX!

Thanks again , Ann for the info.

I'll let you know what is going on as soon as I get the info!

 


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