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Author Topic: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before  (Read 3490 times)

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Offline mexican2

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I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« on: June 04, 2012, 10:01:20 PM »
Hello everyone, I've been lurking for a few weeks now, and after reading some stories here, it made me want to share mine.

I'm a 26 year-old Mexican male. At the age of 23, I got a job offer in another city and  decided to take it and move out of my hometown. That was the beginning of my succesful career as a Software Engineer. Soon after getting to this city, I met a wonderful guy and we started a relationship. Life couldn't be more perfect for me. I had a great job, and had a wonderful relationship.

Last year, my partner started having weird health issues like night sweats, loss of weight etc. so I encouraged him to get tested for HIV "just in case". He tested positive. Soon afterwards, I got tested too and not surprisingly, I was positive too. I found out about myself on August 13th (will never forget that damn date). I was in denial for most of 2011 and going through a lot of crap like anger, resentment, hopelessness etc. I decided my life couldn't go on like that so I finally decided to seek help this February (my partner started getting treated on January).

Fortunately, my CD4s were still above the 350 treshold (421) and with the help of my doctor, I started treatment (Efavirenz + Truvada, which is Atripla but in 2 pills a day) on March. I did not really get any severe side effects or anything, and I'm learning to accept my situation and try not to let it get to me. I used to have horrible days where I simply wanted to die...If only I had known about the existence of this forum, maybe I wouldn't have had such a hard time dealing with the news, but that doesn't matter now, I'm soo glad to be here and read all this wonderful wise advice, which I'm sure will help me tons in dealing with these-

I'm as optimistic as ever, and I'll continue to be a succesful Software Engineer and fulfill all my plans in life.

The fact that treatment in Mexico is 100% free, only makes me feel even luckier. Before 2008, treatment was very expensive, but after 2008 it's free for everyone living with the virus. I feel truly blessed.

My only concern right now is...my partner. He stopped treatment 2 months ago (April) due to side effects, and he simply refuses to try other alternatives that his doctor suggested. His doctor explained to him that Efavirenz + Truvada is NOT the only option for treatment, there are other regimens that are far less aggresive for him, but he simply says he won't do treatment ever again. That he'd rather die than go back to taking medication.

This completely breaks my heart. I've tried to talk him into resuming treatment, but he just won't listen to me (or his family, or his doctor). I know he's an adult and he has the right to make the decision NOT to get treated, but I feel soo helpless. I would be devastated if he dies because of HIV. I've tried showing him information, clinical trials, results, benefits etc. but nothing works. Can you guys provide some advice about convincing him to resume treatment? Ohh and for the record, his CD4s are way lower than mine (don't remember the exact number, but he's in the double-digit area) so time is extremely important here. There MUST be something I can do to convince him, but I simply don't see how  :(

Offline emeraldize

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Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 10:22:29 PM »
Hi Mexi,

Welcome. When I got to the end of your post, I had this feeling about your partner. Instinctive perhaps. Or I'm completely off-base. Let me know if any of this adds up.

You're a software engineer. Would you say you're the math mind, linear thinking, practical one in the relationship?

If so, is he more the arts and literature-loving, abstract-thinking person? If so, has he talked about feeling guilty he may have infected you? Is he working? Is he more inclined to be comparing himself to you, to others? Does he suffer low self-esteem?  And finally, has he had any counseling ever? Would he consider trying it or trying it again?

So, I'll stop here. I'll check back in and hope to see your reply. Do you know whether his doctor said he'd be eligible for Isentress/Truvada? I ask because for me and many others on this site, that combination has proven to be easy to take and side effects small to non-existent.


Offline Rev. Moon

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Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 10:39:53 PM »
Hi Mex, welcome to the forums.  Sorry about the diagnosis, but glad that you found us nonetheless (and that you've decided to participate).

It's good that you've started treatment and that you haven't experienced any noticeable side effects.  Soon you will see the benefits as your viral load decreases and in time your CD4 will start climbing.

As far as your partner is concerned I'm in agreement with Em; he may be dealing with some internalized issues of guilt, shame, and responsibility for your infection.  The defeatist attitude is evidence of depression, and he may need to address that issue as he learns to live with HIV.  Has he considered the possibility of seeing a counselor? 
This might help him in facing the fact that he needs to take care of himself.  Life has not ended because of this virus, but he cannot give up like that.

There are other options when it comes to first-line treatment.  Em mentioned Isentress/Truvada, which I believe is available in Mexico.  Tell your boyfriend to look into it and give it a try.  He might be pleasantly surprised once he does.

In the meantime please keep taking care of yourself.  You seem to be a level-headed and objective individual; this will help you as you deal with the virus.  As you can see, almost one year has passed and you're doing well.

Again, welcome aboard. 

Da Rev.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline mexican2

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Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 10:42:50 PM »
Yes, I'm the linear-thinking, scientific facts kinda guy, and he's more religion-oriented. This never caused any problems in our relationship though.

He has never talked about feeling guilty about infecting me, but we've had several conversations about how it's nobody's fault. He truly was unaware of his HIV status, and didn't pressure me to have unprotected sex, ever. We probably should've gotten tested before engaging in unprotected sex, but it doesn't matter now. There's no one to blame here, and I've made sure he knows that.

He's currently not working. He's not likely to compare himself to others, but his self-esteem is a little below average, I'd say. I suggested counseling (which is also free for HIV patients) but he refuses that too. It's like he completely gave up hope AFTER the Efavirenz/Truvada side effects. He was very interested in living and being healthy when he started treatment, but completely gave up after he couldn't tolerate the side effects.

His doctor said the next immediate available treatment for him will be Nevirapine/Kivexia, and if that still doesn't work, there are other options, but we're unaware of them. I suppose I'll ask if/when he decides to see his doctor again.

Offline emeraldize

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Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 06:31:33 AM »
Hi Mexi,

I'm glad Rev. Moon joined in.

Is there a way you could get your partner to start some counseling? And, also find out if Isentress/Truvada is available and an option for him. There are others, too. It may be that counseling could center specifically on why he won't try another drug option. Just as some people have a fear of flying, perhaps he has a fear of side effects to be endured rather than side effects that subside.

I've only had one regimen that started in late 2010 and it didn't include battling side effects. Frankly, I had gas early on and then, my body adjusted. I/T is being easily taken by members of this site who are veterans of the virus and experienced with a variety of regimens and side effects.

Have you invited your partner to come to this site? There are scads of stories and threads you can search for side effects information, success stories, and more. It might help him build up his confidence to try again.


edited to add: Given Rev's comment that he thought I/T is available in Mexico, I went looking for some info to support that and found this document which affirms it is.  http://www.aidsetc.org/aidsetc?page=cg-1003_arv_table_us-mexico#t-1
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 06:38:55 AM by emeraldize »

Offline mexican2

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Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 08:54:28 AM »
Thank you for your wise words and advice, emeraldize and Rev Moon.

I will encourage him to join the forums so he can read stories and talk to other people going through similar stuff. Maybe that's precisely what he needs, because we haven't really talked about this with anybody since diagnosis (his family is supportive, but I imagine it's not the same as talking to someone with HIV).

I will also try to push harder for counseling. It's free so what does he have to lose?

Thank you, and I'll keep in touch :)

Offline emeraldize

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Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 01:22:03 PM »
You are welcome. We hope he joins, too.

There is nothing like this Community.

My family is supportive, too, and so are some friends.

But this is a precious place unparalleled in the everyday world of being HIV+.

I must remember to put mention of this site and a password on my post-mortem To Do list.

That way, a family member can log on to note " now she's really burnt! " 8)

Offline Lad_Liam

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  • it's a hitchhiker, not a hijacker
Re: I wish I had stumbled upon this forum before
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 12:42:52 PM »
Hey mex
Shit news, great post.
Your boyfriend sounds scared. It's normal. I'm with the other replies, counselling could be useful, but in case he won't go... you can also work on his fears and confidence. You will know as his lover the kinds of feelings and reassurance he needs to feel, so he can brave the next step.

I sense he fears it won't work and it's not worth the trouble and right now he can't see that he is worth fighting for.  So love him hard. Show him life is worth it.

Good luck,
a new dark passenger joins the ride


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