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Author Topic: Newly Positive with a TON of questions  (Read 4483 times)

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Offline motobuchi

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  • Posts: 11
Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« on: April 05, 2012, 08:39:34 PM »
I tested positive back in January.  I knew something had been up since I'd been getting sick a lot and a lot of my illnesses wouldn't heal fully even after multiple doses of prescriptions and OTC drugs.  Even now, I still have a minor ear infection and some mild eczema.

My reaction at first was numbness.  I didn't know what to think.  After that there was a lot of pain, confusion, anger, yada yada.  I do know the hardest part of the whole thing is probably the beginning stage, so that's the most comforting.  After growing up gay and hearing the horror stories (mostly from other HIV- people, nonetheless), I never believed it could actually happen to me.  But now it has.

My first bloodwork test came back with some disappointing numbers.  My CD4 count was 48 and my viral load was 350,550.  I didn't see this coming at all - my last HIV test was in June of 2011, and before that it was December of 2010.  Both tests were negative - so I am still confused how the disease could reach such dangerous levels within such a short time.  From what I had learned, it normally took YEARS for CD4 counts to get that low.

I guess what matters most is that I'm on medication now.  My doc put me on Prevista, Truvada, and Norvir to treat the HIV.  He also put me on Bactrim and Fluconazole to fight off infections in the meantime.  I've heard some horror stories about some of these drugs, especially in their combination.  Specifically bad rashes and lipodystrophy.  Does anyone know of this to be common?

Hopefully I can only be on one pill soon.  My next blood test will be on the April 23rd.

So how common are skin problems with HIV/AIDS?  I'm experiencing a lot of itchiness and some eczema.  I have some topical steroids, but they're not helping much.  I guess I'm just worried about the general health of my skin as I've always been told my skin was good and healthy.  I've always been overall a healthy person - and I don't want that to change now.

Offline WillyWump

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,367
Re: Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 11:09:22 PM »
Hi Moto, and welcome  ;)

Just before I started meds I had some severe itching and spots on my legs, My ID doc didnt seem to concerned so I went to a dermatologist and he stated that it would subside once I started meds (my numbers were mediocre @ 250ish). I never got a straight answer about what it was, but it did go away once I started meds.

You might want to ask you doc for some Atarax, it is an amazing pill that took all the itching away for me.

Also, glad to see you on Prez/Nor/Tru. I was on that regimine (waves at MissP) and it did wonders for my counts.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

POZ since '08

Last Labs-
11-6-14 CD4- 871, UD
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir

Offline Lad_Liam

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • it's a hitchhiker, not a hijacker
Re: Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 11:09:55 AM »
hi motobuchi,

i'm in the similar situation as in just finding out, feeling like my gay childhood nightmare is coming true, and numbness and fear.  but  I haven't started taking meds, so can't answer any of those questions as they're the same answers I'm after.

i'm scared like you are, but so many people here have great news stories about these pills. it sounds normal to have initial, temporary reactions.  i just wanted to say thanks for sharing, good luck and hope it settles in well soon.
a new dark passenger joins the ride

Offline HereIAm

  • Member
  • Posts: 68
Re: Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2012, 02:48:54 PM »
Hi motobuchi,

Welcome to the boards.  I am sorry about your diagnosis and your numbers.

I have a lot of skin issues when I began as well. Was pretty tough in fact. I had always had very good skin.  It took about a month, or a little bit more, once I was on the medicines for my skin to get better. All of the prescriptions didn't seem to help for my very dry skin, rashes, and itching. A moisturizing soap (I think I used some Dove product in a bottle) and cocoa butter lotion helps the most.

You may look at my numbers of my signature block. My beginning CD4 count was 23 with a viral load of over 770,000. I have drastically improved, as I expect you will.

Here are Auntie Here's (that's me) advice for living through this in this day and age.  But, remember, I am not a doctor of medicine and not your doctor.  So, always do what your doctor says, over what some random person here might say.

1.   Be 100% adherent to the medicine, every dose, every day.
2.   Follow the doctors advice.
3.   See a doctor who sees and follows at least 100 HIV patients in their practice.
4.   Learn and practice stress reducing methods.
5.   Live your life, define your life, don't let this virus define it.
6.   IF you smoke, talk to the doctor about quiting.
7.   Live a healthy life style.
8.   Sleep enough, and I am not kidding about this.
9.   Find support, both on line and in person.
10. Get your lab work done regularly.
11. While your numbers are low, be careful.  Wash hands.  Wash food.  Cook at home.  No sushi. 
12.  Discuss taking a multi vitamin with your doctor.
That's it!
Tested Positive 10 Sept 2008.
24 Sept 2008:  CD 4: 23;   1%;  VL: 770,709
1st Oct 2008:  Started Atripla
4 Dec 2008:  CD 4: 145; 8%, VL: 209
1 March 2009:  CD 4: 91; 8%, VL: 49 (undet)
1 June 2009:  CD 4: 164; 11%, VL: 61
8 July 2011:  CD 4: 286; 17%, VL Undet
28 Oct 2011: CD 4: 346; 21%, VL Undet
2 Mar 2012: CD 4: 316; 20%, VL 6800 (probably an error)
12 Apr 2012: CD 4: 333; 21%, VL Undet

Offline jkinatl2

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 05:35:45 PM »
For skin issues, let me add - drink water. Half gallon a day of just pure, regular water will do amazing things for your skin and aid your digestive health as well.

I have not heard any horror stories about Prezista or Truvada. The dose of Norvir (used as a booster) is also not something you need to overly concern yourself with.

I am on those three drugs myself with the addition of Isentress. and I have spent the last eighteen years intentionally and successfully avoiding drugs that cause lipo issues. I have been fortunate in that I was able to make these calls, but now? In this day and age? You should be able to make drug choices that avoid lipo issues (many of the drugs that cause these long term effects are no longer being used. Others, like Norvir, have been reformulated and their dosage sharply reduced.)

I have a CD4 count of 250. I drink, don't smoke tobacco, do a bunch of sporty stuff, eat sushi like crazy, and kill zombies on the Wii to reduce stress.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline RoseCityGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 07:19:08 PM »
I was recently diagnosed in February with a CD4 of 64 and viral load of 69,000. I was placed on the same HAART meds as you. I experienced a huge flair in skin issues from a rash to folliculitis , the medications I took didn't help at all. It took about a month for that to resolve as my CD4 increased. I'm doing much better now and most of my skin issues have resolved.
2/9/12     Diagnosed HIV+ - PCP pneumonia
2/12/12   CD4 - 64   VL- 69,000
2/15/12   Started Prezista, Truvada, Norvir
3/7/12     CMV Esophagus dx
3/19/12   CD4 - 69   VL- 450

Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 5,820
  • 31 Years Poz
Re: Newly Positive with a TON of questions
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 08:26:51 PM »
Hey Moto,

Sorry to hear you are poz, but glad you found your way to us.  Adjusting to being poz is a journey, not a destination, so take your time and go at your own pace.  I'm glad to hear the meds are working and look forward to hearing more about you.  I just thought I would say hello and that I have been poz for 27 years and I take 3 pills to treat my HIV.

Believe me when I tell you that it does get better.  It just takes time, so feel free to ask questions or whatever and welcome to the forums.



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