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Author Topic: Approaching 5 years Positive  (Read 4451 times)

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Offline daveR

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Approaching 5 years Positive
« on: April 16, 2021, 05:13:37 am »
Almost 5 years since the dreaded day that I saw the word positive next to my HIV test. Doing well sill. A good CD 4 count at 739, 43.7%. Undetectable viral load. Basically been that way since about 3 months after I started meds. My kidneys were slightly out of spec again, creatine level at 1.2, so not far out, 1.18 is the upper limit on the scale at my hospital.
I was going to raise the question of changing my meds, currently take Ricovir-EM and Edurant to make Complera but didn't have to. My Dr raised it instead and suggested Biktarvy, her main reason was to help the kidney function. I jumped at it to drop the two pills and food requirements. I know two pills a day is no real inconvenience and I managed for almost 5 years, but the with or without food option makes travel more convenient. My plan is to just wake up, pop one pill and be done with it. I still have 2 months of my old regime left so the Dr said just finish them off and start the Biktarvy. Reasonable price also, roughly the same as my old regime at around 3600 Thai Baht a bottle. Could get them cheaper at the Thai Red Cross but don't want to travel, particularly during the pandemic, never no when they will restrict travel so I am happy to pay the hospital price.

Take care
Dave

Offline leatherman

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2021, 06:36:37 am »
The first years are always troubling and confusing, getting used to the diagnosis and meds; but at some point, life simply becomes it's new normal and treating HIV is just another part of living life.

glad to hear that things are working out well for you!  ;) :D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)

PozChilean

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2021, 12:56:23 pm »
I'm glad you're doing well!

I didn't realize meds were so expensive in Thailand; my Complera bottle costs 1/3 of what you pay for (90% is covered by my insurance).

Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2021, 08:46:27 pm »
I use a private hospital. No insurance coverage or state assistance. I think for local people meds are covered by the government 30 BAHT scheme. What ever they require costs just 30 BAHT, under a dollar from a government hospital
It is the price I pay for choosing to live there unfortunately.

PozChilean

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2021, 11:08:37 pm »
I use a private hospital. No insurance coverage or state assistance. I think for local people meds are covered by the government 30 BAHT scheme. What ever they require costs just 30 BAHT, under a dollar from a government hospital
It is the price I pay for choosing to live there unfortunately.
Ah, I see! Thank you for clarifying.

Offline joemutt

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2021, 11:50:50 pm »
I'm glad you're doing well!

I didn't realize meds were so expensive in Thailand; my Complera bottle costs 1/3 of what you pay for (90% is covered by my insurance).

Depends; my meds cost about 50 usd per month here in Thailand. For my boyfriend they are free, not even 30 thb.
I am going to be 24 years on meds and 26 years here next month.
Good health to everyone!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 11:58:00 pm by joemutt »

Offline terrymoore

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2021, 12:30:57 am »
Hi Dave R,
For me it is also 5 years. i have decided to stop thinking about it and live a normal life and try not to give this thing of ours any thought. Sometimes, of course, we have no choice - twice a year for my checkups, when covid started and i worried, visa renewals and med-checks, travel etc. In general though, i have accepted and just try to move on.
Regarding Biktarvy, i am also considering moving to this regime. I am also on Complera and hate the food requirement - it is just a pain in the ass and forces me to eat when i really do not want to...(the problems we have these days...).
I worry that Biktarvy won`t be as available as the generic Complera. What do you think? I buy my meds at the TRC - much cheaper.
WDYT?

Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2021, 01:35:25 am »
I was concerned about availability also, generic Complera comes in many shapes and forms so there should never be a supply problem with that. I was given the genuine Gilead Biktarvy, I did ask about the supply and she said it is ok. Now becoming more of the desired treatment at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. I think the TRC has had the generic version for a while so I think it will be a good move. The only thing that would concern me about generics is that most come from India and Covid is currently causing a lot of issues over there, not sure if that will have any knock on effect on drug supplies.
I was happy to make the swap though, I was getting tired of the food requirements. Lunch had become more of a chore than a pleasure, that and my kidneys had just gone slightly out of tolerance again. Other than that, I could not question the efficacy of Complera, it has done me well.

Offline joemutt

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2021, 03:01:29 am »
The only thing that would concern me about generics is that most come from India and Covid is currently causing a lot of issues over there, not sure if that will have any knock on effect on drug supplies.
Hi Dave R,
Yes, with what is going on there now that would cause me also some concern.

Offline fabio

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2021, 03:28:00 am »
I'm glad you are doing better now. Hopefully the regimen you have currently is convenient for you as well,although the fact you have to pay for it sucks.
The first years are difficult,even though I don't have much of the sentimentality or dramatic reaction now when taking meds,I still have days where I think about it and it gets me down for about 1 hour then I come to my senses again haha. It's definitely not going to keep us from loving our lives normally,that is for certain .

Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2021, 11:42:20 pm »
Just did my first check up after the switch from Complera to Biktarvy. Still waiting the CD4 count and viral load results but the general Kidney function and Liver function work came through straight away, and is not as good as expected. The main reason to switch regimes was to improve my Kidney function, however after 2 1/2 months on Biktarvy my creatinine levels are still rising slowly. Previously on Complera it ranged from 1.17 to up to 1.24, this didn't bother my Dr. This time it has increased to 1.33 which seemed to have concerned her more. Cholesterol has also gone up.
A google search shows me a creatinine level of up to 1.3 is considered normal, so I have no idea why she switched medication, although I was happy to do it to drop the food requirement. Today though she has given me a 1 week supply of Kivexa and Dolutegavir, Triumeq in a two pill formula, with an appointment to check Kidney function again in one week. Full checks including ultrasound, prostate and blood work. No allergy test was given for the Kivexa, was warned of what to look for though. Hopefully this will either bring the Kidneys back into specification or perhaps point to another issue.
Not happy to have to change regimes again after 5 years on Complera, had hoped Biktarvy would have been the final one. She did say if my Kidney function does not improve after this switch she may keep me on Biktarvy, we can make that decision on the day of the tests.

All in all, not the result I was hoping for, although still not sure it is something to even be concerned about. We did dig up an old blood test result from 2006 with a creatinine level of 1.3, nobody even mentioned it back then.

Dave

Offline Acesra

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2021, 07:30:00 am »
Dear Dave R,

Thank you for sharing. Good to hear that you are doing well.

May I ask about how to get Biktarvy in Thailand please?
I wasn't aware that it's available in Thailand. Was it prescribed by your doctor, and you could by it at the hospital pharmacy?

Thank you

Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2021, 08:03:23 am »
Dear Dave R,

Thank you for sharing. Good to hear that you are doing well.

May I ask about how to get Biktarvy in Thailand please?
I wasn't aware that it's available in Thailand. Was it prescribed by your doctor, and you could by it at the hospital pharmacy?

Thank you

Hi Ascesra,

It was prescribed by my Dr at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya at my last visit in April 2021, availabe at their pharmacy. It was not there 6 months prior to that. Genuine Gilead product. Price approximately 3600 Thai Baht per bottle. I would say with a good amount of certainty that it should be available at any of the Bangkok Hospital chain in Thailand.

Regards
Dave

Offline Acesra

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2021, 06:21:51 pm »
Hi Ascesra,

It was prescribed by my Dr at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya at my last visit in April 2021, availabe at their pharmacy. It was not there 6 months prior to that. Genuine Gilead product. Price approximately 3600 Thai Baht per bottle. I would say with a good amount of certainty that it should be available at any of the Bangkok Hospital chain in Thailand.

Regards
Dave

Hi Dave, thank you for this information. It's wonderful to know that Biktarvy is now available in Thailand.

Offline zach

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2021, 05:17:06 am »
Quote
Price approximately 3600 Thai Baht per bottle.

 :o

wtf am I doing in the US groveling to recertify ryan white every 6 months

Offline TGun

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2021, 10:01:03 am »
dave,

im on biktarvy also,, 4 years in, alls well here now for me too... im motivated to hear about your thai life and experience liveing with hiv here, as in the back of my mind thailand has always been my fall back in the event healthcare here for me becomes unaffordable.   i beleive biktarvy is 3000 plus USD here right now,, so i am really excited to see this 3600 tHB price....how much does the rest of healthcare cost since your out of pocket, paying cash there???  I have a wife and 1 daughter i need to bring with me also if we make the move,, they are i full support and willing to go move there with me if i choose, thank goodness.


Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2021, 10:53:41 pm »
dave,

im on biktarvy also,, 4 years in, alls well here now for me too... im motivated to hear about your thai life and experience liveing with hiv here, as in the back of my mind thailand has always been my fall back in the event healthcare here for me becomes unaffordable.   i beleive biktarvy is 3000 plus USD here right now,, so i am really excited to see this 3600 tHB price....how much does the rest of healthcare cost since your out of pocket, paying cash there???  I have a wife and 1 daughter i need to bring with me also if we make the move,, they are i full support and willing to go move there with me if i choose, thank goodness.
That is a very broad question. I use private hospitals, the one I use now is the most expensive in the area. This doesn't mean I get the best medical treatment, it just means I get a very convenient polite service. Instant consultations and a Starbucks in the hospital lobby. I could get treatment at a government hospital much cheaper, but without any luxuries attached. Coming from the UK any treatment I have to pay for is expensive, so even at 3600 Thai baht, or just over $100 for a month of Biktarvy makes me want to cry.
If you do settle here with the family, HIV treatment in Bangkok is much cheaper at the Thai Red Cross, and health insurance for your family is essential. You wouldn't really want your loved ones spending time in a government hospital, communal ward recovering from an operation.

Dave

Offline TGun

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2021, 12:19:35 am »
ah thank you Dave,

Where abouts are you located in Thailand?  for me 3600 THB for Biktarvy a month is very doable. 

How are the remaining healthcare costs and quality there for you going????  any advice??

We're really thinking to relocate in a few years there,, things here in USA are gettign way too expensive.

Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2021, 03:47:20 am »
I am located in Pattaya, but the hospital I use is part of a large chain of hospitals with branches all over Thailand. The Bangkok group, for me the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. I lived down south for a while and used the Bangkok Hospital Had Yai. They have branches in Phuket also.

Health care quality from the top hospitals is excellent, just have to remember they are a business first, hospital second. Costs vary per hospital, if you can put up with a slight drop in luxury you can save a good bit of money even at private hospitals.

Health insurance for you being HIV positive would be impossible as far as I can see, so far every company I asked said they would not insure me. There me be some out there that will, or may be you could use a US policy.

Offline TGun

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2021, 08:14:21 am »
thanks dave,, im very familiar with thailand, as i had a gf for 6 years that was thai and traveled all over the country along time ago.

US healthplans wont allow coverage overseas,, in the event of hospital bill is accrued overseas, i am to get the bill translated and submit it to the US insurance and seek reimbursement.   thats not going to get the hospital paid initially, thats the sticking point im sure with a thai business.

how are all the other living situations? rent, work., schools etc?

Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2021, 09:19:32 am »
Schooling is good. Whichever system you prefer, local Thai, UK, US. Just have to check what is available in the area you want. I am a Brit, my son did a bilingual school with Thai and UK systems. Reasonable price. The full international schools are more expensive.

I no longer work here, I use to be in the oil industry. They have made things much harder now, they obviously prefer locals to have a job before expats. You would for sure need company sponsorship to work here, work permit and correct visa. Being over 50 I get a retirement visa.

Plenty of property to rent, condos, houses. They never stop building. My wife owns the house I live in, and the car, and the clothes I wear. Can't help thinking I messed up somewhere

Offline Loa111

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2021, 06:25:55 am »
how are all the other living situations? rent, work., schools etc?

I lived in Pattaya for 10 years (but back home about 5 years now). You'd need, same as Dave R said, if you moved there, to at least get your kids into a Bilingual School with an English Program e.g. depending on the school, they'd teach the maths, science, social studies, via English & the rest in Thai. This means if you go back to live in the West your kids can slot back into the English speaking world. I would not put kids in a Thai school unless you were going to stay there for life.

Eating out is cheap (usually). Rent is cheap, buying property can be cheap depending on where you go & how you buy. Cars as expensive due to heavy import tax. If you've no insurance & a major health issues emerges or took a heart attack or something you'll be in for very expensive medical bills depending on where you go.

To be honest, I came home as I think schooling & future opportunities are better for my kids in the West. However, I loved living there. Didn't know I was Poz until I relo'ed back home & got sick. I'm glad I did not have to navigate doctors in Thailand trying to figure out Hiv treatment.

Lots of other good places to live other than Pattaya, but further away from there you go, the less English is spoken.

I do miss living there myself very much. 

Dave R... I lived out the "Dark side" not so far from Soi Khao Talo. Loved it over there. Though an educated guess interaction with ladies in the Soi Bakow area might have landed me on this forum!




Offline daveR

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2021, 07:52:21 am »


Dave R... I lived out the "Dark side" not so far from Soi Khao Talo. Loved it over there. Though an educated guess interaction with ladies in the Soi Bakow area might have landed me on this forum!

I live in the same area, the Dark Side. A couple of Soi's further down the Sukhumvit Road, couldn't live in the city. There are far better places to live, I use to live down in Songkhla for a while, but Pattaya is hard to beat for convenience.

The biggest down side is, probably like yourself, the local nightlife and entertainment is what led me to this forum also. Although at the time, I thought it was great. Such is life.

Offline TGun

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Re: Approaching 5 years Positive
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2021, 04:24:00 pm »
LOA and DaveR,

thank you so much.  i am familiar with pattaya and the darkside along with buakhao,,,, my kids are half filipino, so picking up and leaving here to go there appeals to us since it is closer to the philippines and seeing family(and cheaper to see them)  Philippine healthcare is abysmal at best which im scared to live there with this condition.  I mainly am thinking the healthcare for PLWHIV in thailand is probably almost the best in the third world countries.  I'm just trying to come up with a back up plan in the event this cost of living doesn't come down at all in the USA,, its getting wuite incredible and my pension on'y stretches so far.   Main concerns are the wife and kids tho, thats it,, along with my health

 


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