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Main Forums => I Just Tested Poz => Topic started by: Tguid13 on November 17, 2021, 10:36:42 am

Title: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on November 17, 2021, 10:36:42 am
Hello Everyone,

Iíve had a really tough last few months, and Iíd like to share my story.

I consider myself pan sexual and for the longest time, I only dated women. I suppressed the gay side of me. After finally acting on these urges, I decided to start dating men. One of the very first dates I went on, I met my current partner in which we were engaged.

We have had such a loving, supportive, and honestly what I thought of a picture perfect relationship. He is also not only my first relationship with a man, but my first very serious relationship.

Recently, we decided to pack our bags and move to a different state together where we did not know anyone. Things seemed great until I found a disposable douche in his car. I was highly suspicious after this because there was literally no reason at all for him to have that. I have never had suspicions of cheating prior. I asked him repeatedly to explain, but he had this made up story that just didnít seem factually right. I went through his phone and discovered the exchanging of sexual pictures with other men on apps like Grindr. For me personally, this was the first man that I had sex with, I had never used Grindr before, and when we begin having unprotected sex we both were tested. So this was shocking.

As two months go by, we begin therapy and he gave me access to his passwords and things like that. I still had a feeling that he physically cheated on me, but he denied it every time. He claimed that it was all just used for picture exchange. He seemed to be working extremely hard to fix all of the heart break. I later find out that he claimed to have oral with 4 guys and sex with 1 in our old state. He claimed he got tested and everything came back fine. This destroyed me, I then found out he had sex with all 5 and has had an addiction to meeting up with guys on these apps since he was young (he is 24, Iím 26). As devastated as I was, I made him go get tested. He claimed to have gotten tested every time but this wasnít true, and there has never really been a long gap of us not having sex. Thatís when he got the news that he was positive.

The next day (yesterday), I went to a sex health clinic and was tested myself, which also came back positive. My doctors were incredibly supportive, however, I donít even have words about the situation. I am truly so sad/angry/disgusted plus a million other emotions. However, the weird thing is is that I keep feeling attached to him because I feel as if we are going on this journey together. At this point, I canít even begin to think about the cheating and betrayal, we donít have a strong support system here. Also, he truly is so sweet, supportive, and there is obviously a ton of guilt. Iím currently applying for law school, and I have no idea what to do about the entire situation. It is all extremely hard and difficult. My mom and his mom knows about the situation and my best friend.

Why do I want to still be near him and stay by his side through this?
What are the best ways to cope with having a newly positive test?
Iím grieving my relationship and contracting HIV from someone who I thought I was in a monogamous relationship with for years and were engaged. How do I take the first steps to figure out an action plan?
Why does a small part of me still want to stay with him?

I know that you guys might not have the answers, but maybe someone will.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on November 17, 2021, 10:50:59 am
Hiya,

Sorry to hear about the reactive HIV result.

I presume it was a rapid test at the clinic yesterday. Has the clinic arranged follow-up labs and appointments for you?

Quote
Why do I want to still be near him and stay by his side through this?
What are the best ways to cope with having a newly positive test?
Iím grieving my relationship and contracting HIV from someone who I thought I was in a monogamous relationship with for years and were engaged. How do I take the first steps to figure out an action plan?
Why does a small part of me still want to stay with him?

Because you love him and you are still digesting the news and the cheating. It's a process that can take time and love isn't something that gets turned off like a switch.

I think the immediate next steps are to care for yourself both physically and mentally, give yourself time to get your head around things and once you both are ready prehaps talk and see if the relationship is something you both wish to continue or not.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on November 17, 2021, 10:54:02 am
I believe it was a rapid test, but it was still with drawing blood. Iím not sure if this changes anything, but I do have a follow up tomorrow with my doctor with more lab work. She mentioned about seeing how much is in my viral load and things like that. Iím not really sure what that means, but I know she will explain it all tomorrow. Iíve only had one test, but she thinks it is likely to be a true positive due to my partner also testing positive. I do not believe his was rapid because it took multiple days to receive the results, and with mine, it was within an hour.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on November 17, 2021, 11:10:48 am
Yeah, it's a rapid reactive result and we know that it can be a shock and a lot to digest. From what you mentioned his test would have been an antibodies test from the lab but they would also run confirmation testing.

Anyhow, glad to see you have a follow-up so quickly, the clinic will run confirmation testing along with a few other blood tests like CD4 and viral load, resistance profile etc. This will confirm the result, give them a baseline and help in treatment recommendations.

For the time being until you have results back, I am going to ask you to post only in this single thread and we will answer & support you here.

Best, Jim

P.s below are some easy to digest links on starting treatment, labs etc that might help.

https://www.poz.com/basics/hiv-basics/understanding-lab-work-blood-tests
https://www.poz.com/article/newly-diagnosed
https://www.poz.com/basics/hiv-basics/starting-hiv-treatment
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on November 17, 2021, 11:47:11 pm
I have an appointment tomorrow, but I got my CB4 tests back and it was in the 150s at 8%. The doctor told me that it is highly likely that it is a true positive unfortunately.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on November 18, 2021, 05:38:12 am
That's a quick turnaround on the CD4 bloodwork, so 150 / 8% is somewhat on the low side, but no need to panic or stress.

In short, CD4's are white blood cells that fight infection. In the HIV negative population, the average person would have CD4 % in the ranges  30% to 60% or a count of 400+.

No need to panic, though. Once you start HIV treatment, it will suppress the virus and allow your immune system to "heal", for lack of a better phrase. During check-up's, they will monitor how well the treatment is suppressing the virus by checking the amount of virus present in your blood. This is called the viral load.

As your baseline CD4 % is lower, your healthcare provider might temporarily prescribe an antibiotic (Co-trimoxazole) to help prevent infections until your CD4 % rises somewhat and/or your viral load is suppressed. In the long run, once your HIV treatment is suppressing the VL, the CD4 counts become rather irrelevant.

I've moved your thread back to the "I just tested positive section", However, for the time being, please only post any questions, concerns or thoughts you have in this one thread and the forum members will be able to answer you and provide you with support. :)

Jim.

https://www.aidsmap.com/about-hiv/septrin-cotrimoxazole

https://i-base.info/ttfa/section-1/9-interpreting-cd4-results-cd4-count-and-cd4-percentage/
 
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: RMalongo on November 18, 2021, 07:35:51 am
Hi Tguid,

You are not sick, you carry a virus that can affect your immunity (no to self stigma and others stigma). With the proper treatment, you will soon get undetectable and your life continues (law school and future lawyer).

As hard it can be to discover the news, I advise to seek the help of a therapist (psychologist): this is the most important along with the treatment.

If you need any help or have any questions, this group is really supportive.

Take care and be strong
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on November 19, 2021, 01:41:18 pm
Thank you for the support, I really appreciate it. My viral load is around 400k, and I started Biktarvi. So far no side effects and starting the medication has made me feel just slightly better.

How long can it take to become undetectable? I've seen two doctors and 1 said it could be 4-6 weeks while the other doctor said that it could be up to a year. Does it just depend on the individual?
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on November 19, 2021, 01:51:10 pm
Hiya,

Glad to hear you started treatment.

Quote
How long can it take to become undetectable? I've seen two doctors and 1 said it could be 4-6 weeks while the other doctor said that it could be up to a year. Does it just depend on the individual?

It just depends. Sure, some people experience that the VL is fully suppressed within a few weeks but I think generally speaking it takes months and for a few, it can take longer.

Has your partner started treatment already?
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on November 19, 2021, 01:58:25 pm
Thank you for that information. We both have started treatment. I have a medication box to ensure I never miss a dose and a daily reminder on my phone.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tonny2 on November 19, 2021, 08:51:33 pm




          ojo.          Hello and welcome!!!Öwell, it is what it is, now you know you are hiv positive, now you treat it. As soon as you learn to live with the virus and take your med/s as prescribed, you two will be fine, either together or separately. You two can support each other on this new journey. There is life after an hiv dx we just need to keep living positively, no pun intendedÖyou are not alone we are here to support youÖ hugs
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on December 20, 2021, 02:36:57 am
Hi everyone! Iím here for an update ó one month later. Iíve been on biktarvy and finished my first bottle (woohoo)! I can honestly say that yes, Iím still struggling with mental health issues over the diagnosis, but it honestly has become so routine at this point I donít think of it much. Iím excited to go to my 6 week check up to see some movement on my VL and CD4 levels. I will say for anyone newly diagnosed:

1. It is your timeline. This is a grieving process, but it does get better. Use the resources that you have. Iím going to therapy where my therapist is an HIV+ man, and he has given me many coping skills. Join online forums, go to local meet ups, do whatever you need to do and have access to help with the mental part of your diagnosis.
2. The medicine works and luckily most people have no side effects. We are in such a lucky era where HIV is truly just a pill a day, and I mean that when I say it. Iím not even UD yet but I already feel so positive about  my future (honestly thanks to my ID doctor and therapy).

Also another huge win, I got into the law school of my dreams!! Things are starting to look up and as scary as it is, reach out to the people who have your back (including me). Iím certain that I will have a normal relationship with sex in the future as long as I take my medicine whenever you that timer on my phone goes off. Also, if you havenít already make sure to look into copay cards for medication. Fortunately, my insurance covers mine with a $25 copay, but I found coupons that cover the 25 fully.

Life moves on, and yes this diagnosis is horrible, but you get used to it. You almost have to.

I do have a question, however, how long does it typically take patients to reach UD for the first time on biktarvy?

Also, omnicron is a little scary right now so please make sure to wear your masks and wash your hands because COVID is the last thing you need in your life. Sending all positive vibes to my newly diagnosed family.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: daveR on December 20, 2021, 05:23:26 am
Biktarvy is a good modern regime. I would fully expect your viral load to be well under control when you go for your blood work. Didn't see what your starting figure was but it would be irrelevant as the Biktarvy would have done its job.

You have a good mind set, life does indeed go on now a days with an HIV diagnosis. The modern regimes make it un-noticeable, just a pill a day.

Take care.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on December 21, 2021, 05:41:53 am
Hiya,

Quote
Also another huge win, I got into the law school of my dreams!!

That's great news, congratulations!

Quote
I do have a question, however, how long does it typically take patients to reach UD for the first time on biktarvy?

How long is a piece of string?

So many factors influence this, anyhow, some people experience that the VL is fully suppressed within a few weeks, generally speaking, it takes months and for a few, it can take longer.

If the treatment is working you should be seeing a reduction in the viral load on your next labs, however, don't stress though if it's not reached less than 50 just yet.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: TGun on December 26, 2021, 04:44:11 pm
Couldn't be a better time to get HIV than now.. the meds are incredible and very effective..  I would rather have HIV than Diabetes.   youre gonna take one pill a day and forget about it for the most part after that.  see an ID docter a few time a year which is about it.   keep your head up,, it really isn't all that bad to be honest with you.. really only a mindgame than you need to get over with yourself and move on and enjoy life.!


all the best.. also this forum is a great source of support,, reach out if you need anything
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 10, 2022, 07:13:37 pm
I just went in for my 6 week check up. The provider I was using unfortunately went out of network because of my insurance and the New Year, but I transferred to a new doctor with a pharmacy, case management, therapy, dental clinic, and PCP/ID clinic all in one location. She pretty much retook all of my vitals/STI test/VL/CD4, gave me hepatitis vaccines because I am due, and answered any questions that I may of had. I should be getting my new VL and CD4 count soon. I am so excited to see the new results! All of my providers have been so confident that I will be relieved even if I'm not completely UD just yet. Also, I was so happy with my new doctor, she was wonderful. Additionally, my meds cost $0 with my insurance copay and the Gilead copay card. Today was good. Also, my partner and I have a lot of work to do, but we have actually been doing a stellar job on the path to reconciliation.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: TGun on January 10, 2022, 08:55:57 pm
Thatís awesome to hear t.  It took me almost a year to deal with the mental demons at work. But after that things have been a breeze.  A few blips here and there. But youíll be good.  Hang in there.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on January 11, 2022, 09:34:15 am
Glad to hear you are happy with your new Doctor. Sounds like things are going well.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 12, 2022, 03:18:31 pm
Thank you so much!! I just got my CD4 count back (VL is still pending), butttttttt.... I'M ALMOST AT 300!!! I no longer have to worry too much about CD4 and the medicine seems to be doing its job. I did it in 6 weeks too on Biktarvy starting at 151. I'm just so happy to be over 200! Additionally, my % went from 8% to 22% and 30% is considered normal, we are making progress here!
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 13, 2022, 09:06:53 am
VL is at 97 from 401,000 in just 6 weeks! I'm so amazed!
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on January 13, 2022, 09:12:50 am
VL is at 97 from 401,000 in just 6 weeks! I'm so amazed!

Excellent results, congrats.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 13, 2022, 09:44:11 am
Thank you Jim, may I ask -- I think at this point the hard part is over right? The virus is suppressed, my CD4 is over 200, so now it is just routine maintenance (check-ins, continue with my medication, etc.), and I can begin living a normal life? I know that I have to wait 6 months before I'm considered U=U from the guidelines, but that doesn't bother me. I'm more worried about becoming sick and getting my health back and order.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: leatherman on January 13, 2022, 11:36:03 am
I can begin living a normal life?
I'm more worried about becoming sick and getting my health back and order.
YES!


but . . .
don't get worried if your labwork "bounces" around for a little bit longer. VL and CD4 counts don't actually follow in a straight line function. Sometimes the VL bounces around a little bit until it settles at undetectable (<20); and cd4s can vary by 100 pts in a single day so as long as 3 tests over at least 6 months are trending the right way, that's all that matters. Since we get our cd4s from our parents' genetics, and few people are ever tested before a diagnosis, your cd4s will eventually settle in whatever is the normal range for you (usually 400-1200).

at this point (cd4s >200 and VL undetectable (at least <200 if not <20), take your meds every day, and live your life well.  :D
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 13, 2022, 07:27:08 pm
Amazing, thank you so much for this info! So I've read mixed results (my doctor hasn't called me just yet). Is under 200 considered "undetectable" or is under "20". Whenever I ask this, I mean in regards to the U=U philosophy and not what is considered clinically undetectable as in under 20 the labs can't detect it.

Thank you!
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on January 13, 2022, 07:45:14 pm
Amazing, thank you so much for this info! So I've read mixed results (my doctor hasn't called me just yet). Is under 200 considered "undetectable" or is under "20". Whenever I ask this, I mean in regards to the U=U philosophy and not what is considered clinically undetectable as in under 20 the labs can't detect it.

Thank you!

There are tests used for research that can detect as low as 1 copy. How low do you need to go...

In terms of U=U (TaSP), it's 200 and from a drug testing and generally, treatment point of view anything under 50 is accepted as fully suppressed. Tones of data on both these thresholds.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 13, 2022, 07:51:05 pm
So essentially, 6 months from now if I stay below 200 then I will be considered not transmissible? 
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on January 13, 2022, 07:52:47 pm
So essentially, 6 months from now if I stay below 200 then I will be considered not transmissible? 

Yeah, keep taking your meds, get the lab results in 6 months.

We have a sticky post that helps explain, https://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=71848.0
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 13, 2022, 07:55:08 pm
Thank you! This resource helps a ton!
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: leatherman on January 13, 2022, 07:59:23 pm
200 to 20 has been an evolution of science. Once upon a time 500 was considered the end all be all, and was even the marker for when to start meds (for what they were in the mid-90s). Then it shifted to 350 as more research was done, meds were improved, and even the tests were improved to detect smaller amounts. Eventually the research settled on 200 as the point of successful suppression of HIV; but the tests continued to be improved to 100, 75, 50, 30, to 20. If you wanted, you could even pay for a more refined test that can go as low as single digits (....but what's the need for that?!?).

"undetectable" is actually not a scientific point but an imprecise word. The word is a generalization for "the hiv VL being so low it can't be measured by the test". So the range as described by the word "undetectable" is (scientifically) <200 to perhaps 0 if the test is able to test that low. for example a test that listed <30 as it's end point could actually count 29 virons but still list "undetectable"

as long as your cd4s get above 200 and your VL stays under 200, you have officially "successful suppression" of HIV
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on January 13, 2022, 08:11:20 pm
That is so exciting and such good news, today is a great day!
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tguid13 on February 14, 2022, 11:30:37 am
Just got my two month blood work back! Down to 50 copies. Such a nice little burst of relief.
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Jim Allen on February 14, 2022, 12:34:48 pm
 :) Glad you are feeling better with the results
Title: Re: Tested Positive for HIV Yesterday
Post by: Tonny2 on February 14, 2022, 09:27:11 pm



           ojo.          Hello there!Ögood for you, now, keep taking your  ďvitaminesĒ and get back to live your lifeÖcongratulationsÖlife goes on!!!