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Author Topic: Recently poz, but doing okay  (Read 3434 times)

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Offline Cruzer625

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
Recently poz, but doing okay
« on: November 24, 2011, 04:43:21 AM »
I've known about these forums for a few months, but didn't really start poking around much until recently.  I thought I'd say hello and tell my story.

In the beginning of May I went through the seroconversion crapola: flu-like symptoms, thrush on tongue, fevers, total body aches, etc.  I didn't eat much, and tried my best to stay hydrated, but I ended up in the hospital for 2 days.  My rapid test in the ER came back negative, but I kinda knew that it might be HIV.  In April I had the flu, and 4 years prior I had mono, so those two illnesses didn't cover my symptoms.  A couple months before my hospitalization I had unsafe sex with a friend of mine.  He later found out that he was positive.  So, in a way, I was mentally prepared for it.

Prior to getting sick, I had gone to a free clinic to get tested during the first week of May.  The rapid test there came back negative as well, but they also sent the blood RNA test as well (which takes longer).  While in the hospital a week later, all of the same blood work was repeated again, along with the rapid test that came back negative in the ER.  While there I saw an infectious disease doctor, and after two days I was sent home feeling much better.  I still felt like I had been run over by a bus, but I was functional.  I also lost about 30 pounds, which my coworkers and friends noticed.

During the following week I started getting phone calls and messages from the clinic to call back right away, that it was important.  That pretty much confirmed my suspicions.  I was finally able to get back to the clinic on May 19th, where a counselor told me that I was HIV+.  She was incredibly supportive, and was able to get me in to see an HIV specialist the very same day at the Center for Comprehensive care in downtown NYC.  I wasn't upset, though I did get quiet after I found out.  What was there to say?  I had it and that was that.  I did break out in a red rash on my arms right after she told me, which I thought was odd.  It went away after 15  minutes.

I sat in the clinic for what seemed like hours that day.  I was essentially a walk-in patient, so that was understandable. At the same time, I was alone and had only my brain to keep me company.  It was a clinic setting, so I was thinking to myself that I would see this doctor and then find my own at a private practice.  6 months later and I have no intention of going anywhere else for my care.

I had what seemed like 20 vials of blood drawn and then was seen by the doctor.  After examining me he asked how I felt about starting treatment that very day.  I said okay.  His response, "Good, I don't have to twist your arm."  That very day I started Truvada, Norvir, and Prezista.  Afterwards I went downstairs to their pharmacy to fill my prescriptions.  I took my first dose that night before bed.

I followed up a week later with the same doctor.  I got my results of my bloodwork.  I got my results.  CD4 count was 159, CD4% was 17%, and my viral load was still greater than 100,000.  My phenotype testing indicated that I had a resistance to Sustiva and a few other medications in that same class.  I have a K103N mutation, for those that know about mutations.  I'm still trying to learn more about it.  I was also started on Bactrim at this follow-up, since I had a lingering cough that was getting worse.

That was my scary month of May.  Somewhere during all that I also celebrated my birthday.  I think the hardest part out of all of that was making those phone calls to people that I had slept during the past couple of months.

The months following have been monthly bloodwork and follow-up visits with my doctor.  In September the Bactrim was finally stopped since my CD4 count had bumped up to the 400s for 3 months.  At this point I'm watching my viral load take it's sweet time getting to undetectable.  I feel great, and I know that that is a better indicator than numbers, but I think it'll mean a lot to be undetectable.

I'm grateful that resources like this message board exist.  It's been a big help recently.  Also, I cannot emphasize the importance of seeking emotional support enough.  I found support through a weekly group, and it's been exactly what I needed to process this mentally.  Initially, I just dove in and did what I needed to do to take care of myself, but as the months wore on I found myself being easily angered over stupid things.  Being in a group has helped with that.  If anything, merely having my feelings validated was a big relief.

It seems I've rambled on quite enough, but that's my story, so far.


Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,398
Re: Recently poz, but doing okay
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 05:50:15 AM »
Welcome Cruzer,

I see you're online and it's Thanksgiving Day -- so, I just wanted to pop on and say hello.
You seem to be moving through things logically and quickly. It's great you have support offline.
Sometimes that is hard to come by---certainly something to be thankful for, heh?

Take continued good care.

Offline spacebarsux

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,350
  • Survival of the Fittest
Re: Recently poz, but doing okay
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 09:17:13 AM »
Hi Cruzer, Sorry you tested poz but Welcome.  :)

You seem to have a good handle on things and your numbers are improving which is great. Hope to see you around on these boards.
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline mikeyb39

  • Member
  • Posts: 980
Re: Recently poz, but doing okay
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2011, 03:47:37 PM »
Welcome Cruzer!  gald you are getting better. 

11/02/2010  cd4-251, vl-591000
12/09/2010  started Atripla
02/18/2011  cd4-425, vl-800
06/10/2011  cd4-447, vl-70
10/10/2011  cd4-666, vl-80
01/05/2012  swiched med (prezista,norvir ,isentress, )
02/10/2012  cd4-733, vl-UD  Viread removed
06/10/2012  cd4-614, vl-UD
12/14/2012  cd4-764, vl-UD
09/01/2013  cd4-785, vl-UD
03/06/2014. cd4- 1078, VL-UD
09/05/2014  cd4-850 , VL-UD
09/05/2014 switched meds isentress, prezcobix -still only two antivirals
10/14/2015  cd4-600 , VL-UD

Offline csguy1

  • Member
  • Posts: 35
Re: Recently poz, but doing okay
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2011, 06:59:49 PM »
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope everyone is having a nice day filled with love, friends, family, and/or loved ones oh and did i forget the turkey.

I stumbled across this video this evening, Hope it gives everyone hope, inspiration, and drive to fight and conquer this virus.


Wish everyone well and to one day say we've been cured!

Offline TexasPOZ

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Recently poz, but doing okay
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 02:36:30 AM »
Hi Cruzer, I'm glad to hear that you're doing ok, and that you had such a positive attitude about starting on meds right away. I'm on the same regimen you're on, and I have had no problems with them, no side effects at all and they are very easy to take on an empty stomach or with food. You were right on to find a support group. I used to attend a support group and found it very helpful, just being around other people who were positive and having people to talk to for support. I have recently moved, and haven't found a support group here, which I can't quite figure out, since it's a much larger city. But it's been three years for me, and I don't need a support group as much as in the beginning. I do attend weekly therapy sessions, however. Keep on taking those meds and attending your support group meetings. You're doing all the right things. The Prezista, Truvada, and Norvir brought my VL down to undetectable pretty quickly, and my CD4 count shot up as well. So far, I haven't been sick a day in my life from HIV, and you don't have to be sick from it again either. Hang in there, and best wishes for you.

Offline Cruzer625

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
Re: Recently poz, but doing okay
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 03:28:41 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome.  :)

TexasPOZ, I'm not surprised that you're not able to find a support group, sadly.  Even in NYC funding cutbacks are forcing prominent gay & lesbian centers to not offer support groups at all.

I get bloodwork done tomorrow, and the results the following week.  I'm hoping that I'll be undetectable.


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