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Author Topic: 20 and poz  (Read 3384 times)

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Offline marseilliais

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20 and poz
« on: June 09, 2017, 06:01:53 PM »
Hey everyone,

Just two days ago my family doctor told me i was positive for HIV 1 antibodies and I haven't slept since. All I've been doing is browsing this forum in search of reassurance and on the phone with my partner. Thankfully, my current boyfriend is very supportive and he's going to start on PREP very soon (as he is negative, and we never had anal sex).

I've been booked to see the immunodeficiency clinic at the end of July (which is kind of far in time), so at this moment I have no idea what my CD4 counts nor viral load is. The funny thing is a week before I got the antibody result from my doctor, a finger-prick rapid test gave me a negative result so my infection must have been very recent (early May perhaps). Should I be worried that I won't be starting treatment until a month from now?

Right now I'm hanging on a very thin thread that perhaps the antibody test was a false-positive, but I'm not ignorant enough to believe that a false-positive is probable.

As a student going into his final year of university, I'm not sure how I'll go about handling the financial burden of HIV meds. My life is changing for me and my partner and I'm really scared. I also live with my parents, but I haven't come out to them that I'm homosexual, and seeing that they are first-generation immigrants, the stigma they have with homosexuals and HIV are heavy. I'm hoping I won't need to tell them and I could get treatment on my own.

Any advice would be great. Thank you everyone.

Offline Ptrk3

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 06:23:15 PM »
I'm sorry to read of your diagnosis, but glad that you have found these forums for support, guidance, and enlightenment.

You will live a long and healthy life, so don't let your dreams be displaced because of a nasty virus.  You can and will beat it down and move on with your life.

It sounds like you were diagnosed shortly after infection, which is a very good thing, since it is very unlikely that your immune system is significantly damaged.

No, you should not be worried that you will not start treatment for a month, since your immune system is still likely to be strong.

Yes, your doctor should make sure your test for HIV antibodies is "conclusive" (false positives do occur) and you need to get a genotype test (on the HIV) and a viral load count and CD4 count.  Once these facts are established, you will be prescribed an antiretroviral regimen, to which you must adhere in order to reduce your viral load to undetectable to assure that your CD4 count remains strong.

You may be in shock now, but things do get better.

Peruse this link for further information:

https://www.poz.com/basics/hiv-basics/newly-diagnosed

Please continue to use these forums for ongoing emotional support and useful information.

HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline Ptrk3

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 06:29:23 PM »
Also, you don't need to tell anyone of your status (other than the appropriate medical professionals and potential sex partners, under certain circumstances) until you are ready (or not all all).  Your HIV status is your business and is private information, just like any other health condition is private.

In regard to the cost of medications, there are many social and other services available to help defray or eliminate costs.  Work with your healthcare professional once your medical regimen is prescribed.
HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline marseilliais

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 07:15:43 PM »
Thank you for your quick reply, Ptrk3. It's good to have some reassurance.

Is there anyone who has been through a tough time paying for HIV meds and how did you go about handling that? Shot in the dark, but anyone in Canada perhaps?

Offline Ptrk3

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 07:22:57 PM »
You're welcome.

There are many people from Canada who are forum members.  I'm sure someone will provide you the guidance you need about how to procure HIV medications in Canada at a reasonable cost (especially since Canada's medical system is, essentially, "single payer;" that is, government run).
HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline harleymc

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 09:49:45 PM »
Welcome to the forum.

It's always a bit of a mind fuck when you get a diagnosis, it's a shame you have to wait for the confirmation test.

I was young, not as young as you, but at 23 I wasn't a senior citizen, I'm 56 now and in pretty good health. If I can do it, you certainly can. It's pretty much a case of taking medications, eating well , getting some regular exercise and  cutting out the smokes if you are a smoker.

if you do all that, the chances are you'll live a long and healthy life. You will likely have better health than your mates who don't look after their health.

You'll get rejected by potential playmates, reject a whole heap, fall in and out of love, start and finish studies, travel the world, and change careers a few times.

Hugs from Australia


Offline JimDublin

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2017, 07:39:56 AM »
Hi

Not much to add than the others have said already. You will be fine, keep us posted on how you get on.

Until you have been confirmed HIV positive I will ask you to only post in this thread so we can help you.

Thanks

Jim
HIV 101 - Index & everything you need to know
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline marseilliais

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2017, 03:45:25 PM »
Thank you everyone. I beginning to feel a lot better hearing from your assurances and your advice. I'm starting to accept my diagnosis, but the one thing is still stuck in my mind though and it's the financial burden of HIV meds.

I guess the sad reality is that those who can't afford the therapy end up dying earlier due to AIDS, but there's really nothing you can do about it. Survival of the richest, i guess  :P

Offline marseilliais

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2017, 01:54:22 PM »
So it turns out in Canada, being HIV+ is considered a disability and all my medicines are 100% covered by the government. This relieves a lot of stress from my end. Things are looking better.

Offline JimDublin

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2017, 05:58:16 AM »
Glad to hear that.
When is your followup appointment with the clinic/specialist?
HIV 101 - Index & everything you need to know
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline marseilliais

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2017, 03:05:45 AM »
Thanks for checking in. My family doctor has been really committed and caring to my diagnosis and he pulled some strings to get me an earlier appointment for July 12th. It's not as early as I'd like to be but I think it's still pretty good.

In the meantime I've been starting to go to support groups for HIV+ youth and been speaking to a lot of HIV+ counsellors in my area and it's been really helpful as I accept my diagnosis.

I'll give an update when I see my HIV specialist and get my blood work completed. Again, thank you for your comments everyone.

Offline marseilliais

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 01:35:35 AM »
Hey everyone, just wanted to give you guys an update. I saw the doctor yesterday and my CD4 count came to be 450 and viral load is 30 million. She started me on Genvoya and I started it last night. Since my last post, I've been going to HIV+ youth support groups in my area, met many HIV+ peers in my age bracket, and it's really helped. I'm becoming comfortable with my status, and for me, it has only amplified my motivation to succeed and gave me a whole new outlook on life. Though, hopefully Genvoya won't give me much side effects down the road!

Offline harleymc

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 08:37:21 AM »
Hi again.

It sounds like step by step you're knocking down those hurdles you were so worried about...
The meds won't cost you an arm and a leg.
You have a good doctor who's prescribed gold plated standard of care for you.
You have  the beginnings of a support network (support's multi-directional).
Your cd4 count is high enough that you don't need to worry about opportunistic infections.

I'm sure that over the next few months you'll get that viral load under control.

What are you studying and what do you hope to do after graduating?



Offline marseilliais

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  • Posts: 8
Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 03:10:59 PM »
Hey Harley,

Thanks for checking in. Thankfully all my drugs are covered by the government so I feel very fortunate and blessed. Out of pocket, these drugs would cost $1.6k a month (which is a bit of an arm and a leg) so I do realize my privilege. After I graduate, I'm going to pursue a Pharm.D. degree and complete a specialization on HIV treatment. I want to be one of the few HIV+ pharmacists making a difference within my community with HIV prevention and treatment. I've already started studying for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) and I hope to write it late October! I'm not going to let this disease stop me from being the person I can be  :)

Offline Ptrk3

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 04:26:30 PM »
Congratulations on your success in dealing with your diagnosis and getting on a proper and effective antiretroviral regimen.  You will live a long and healthy life, as long as your adhere to your regimen. You can and will beat a virus.

All of your goals and dreams can come true, so continue to work toward them!
HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
HIV TasP
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline Tonny2

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2017, 03:37:16 PM »

         ojo         Hello and congratulations, it seems to me, that at such a young age, you are a very mature person, and you have diceded to turn the page and keep looking forward...I'm not saying that you are getting over the fact of being hiv positive, I haven't gotten over it after almost 23 years of living with the "bug", but, the sooner you realize we can't change the past, and learn how to live with the virus, the better we can have control of ours lives again...You are alowed to feel sad or depress sometimes, but, think that nowadays, being hiv positive, you can live a "normal" live (have to take meds, change the way you have sex), you can still make plans for the future, and live a happier life, because now, you know how important is our body and you will take better care of it...my formula for a succesful treatment is, a good attitude, which you already have, and discipline in taking your med/s, if you do this, you will be doing fine for a long time, it has worked for me since my diagnosis in November 1994, even when getting a hiv diagnosis was a death sentence, even when I have to live with AIDS for five years more after my aids dx, due to treatment failure, even when I was told, I would live two more years after the dx, even when I was fighting for my life in the hospital three times, always a good attitude and the company of my mom, she was and is my rock, my inspiration, what I have been fighting for, imagine, she was 60 years old when my dx, and she was always in the hospital with me, now, she just turned 83 and still goes with me to my doctors appoinments, she is very healthy lady, fortunaly...I'm sorry, I think I'm hijacking your thread...anyway...wishing you the best, keep us posted and hugs                        ojo

Offline Wade

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 08:13:50 AM »
Hi, Good to hear you are started on meds, I take genvoya also.
It's a powerful pill and you'll be surprised how fast it knocks the hell out of HIV  ;)

Wade
HIV 101 - Basics
 HIV 101
 You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
 HIV Transmission and Risks
 You can read more about Testing here:
 HIV Testing
 You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
 HIV TasP
 You can read more about HIV prevention here:
 HIV prevention
 You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
 PEP and PrEP

Offline InRecovery

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 04:52:30 AM »
I wish you the best on your education. When I first tested positive in 1995, the doctor advised me not to get my master's because he thought I was only going to live 2-5 years. HIV is not like that anymore due to new treatments. I had just graduated from university, which is surprising because I was severely addicted to heroin at the time. I had always planned to get my master's, but in 1995 it was thought that patients wouldn't live long enough to see the return on investment. Around 1993, I contacted HIV from sharing dirty needles. Now I work full-time and have been very fortunate to never have been sick or fatigued. I guess I'm afraid if I try to get my master's while working full-time, that it might wear me down. I've thought about doing it a lot over the years. You have made a good decision on your education.

Offline marseilliais

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2017, 11:04:36 PM »
Hey guys! So it's been about two months since my diagnosis and since I've started Genvoya, and I'm happy to share that my labs from last week reported that I have my CD4 is 700 and my viral load is undetectable. I've go no side effects at all (except from slight weight gain, but also because I've been eating a lot more). I don't even think much about my diagnosis anymore. I just take a pill a day, as if I'm taking a multivitamin, then I go to school and do everything as if I was still HIV-. For anyone who's just finding out of their positive status, keep your chin up! It's really not like the 1980s anymore, thankfully, and it will get better for you  :)

Offline Expat1

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Re: 20 and poz
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2017, 04:17:32 AM »
Great news!

 


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