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Author Topic: Not undetectable anymore  (Read 3630 times)

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Offline argentio

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  • Posts: 3
Not undetectable anymore
« on: December 04, 2013, 06:30:19 PM »
Hi guys.
I decided to ask here because my Dr is on vacation and won't be back for a couple of weeks (I did go with another doctor but she didn't seem to have much experience with HIV patients).
I started meds (atripla) on July 2011 (had CD4 of 270 and VL of 200,000).
I was tested again 5 months later and was undetectable and my CD4 had climbed to 450.
I had been getting tests every 6 months, remaining undetectable and my CD4s raising slowly.
But last week I got my new results and I was not undetectable anymore.  While my CD4 were now 780 (my previous record was 640), my viral load is now 890. Should I be worried?  Have I became resistant? 
I have read on the internet about "viral blips" where VL suddenly goes up for a couple of weeks before going back to undetectable.  While I want to believe this is the case, a VL of 890 seems kind of high.  Has someone experienced something similar to my case?  Did your VL return to UD?
If it is a case of resistance, what should I expect?  Will they make me switch meds?  Are other meds as convenient and with as few side effects as atripla?  Are they more expensive? (this is a huge issue; sometimes my clinic won't have the meds and my only option is to buy them out of my pocket, and in my country atripla costs pretty much a whole month's salary, even for someone earning above average!).
By the way, I have not missed a single dose in all these years (which sometimes is hard to do with the very inconsistent health services in my country).

Offline mecch

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Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 06:42:05 PM »
why don't you count on it being a blip and test at the next available time you can.


Yes if you were resistance you would have have to change meds.
Yes there are combos that have FEWER reported side effects than Atripla. But everyone is different and each person - you can never really predict what combo is going to be the absolute best.
Of course all meds are terribly expensive at developed world prices.  But there are different pricing of the same meds, depending on the country.  You would have to check with your local HIV experts to know what is available to you and at what prices, in your country.
By the way, if you are occasionally forced into buying Atripla by Bristol-Myers Squibb, out of your own pocket, due to supply, you should compare the price you pay to the price of a generic combo that is the same ingredients, available from India. Find out from other HIV people in your country to see if anyone else has found workarounds to this unreliable supply and/or unaffordable cost.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline newt

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Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 07:15:59 PM »
One duff test does not a trend make.

50% of not undeterctable results are blips.

Get another test, thenm decide.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 05:49:59 AM »
Welcome to the forums, Argentio.

I agree with Mecch and Matt that you have most likely experienced a blip.

I'm wondering if you know about any service organisations near you, where you may be able to find out the name of a good back-up doctor for when your doctor is not available. You may also be able to use a local organisation for other practical help and support. You can find one near you by using aidsmap's world-wide database of hiv/aids organisations. http://www.aidsmap.com/e-atlas

Good luck, and keep us posted.

Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline argentio

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Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 10:21:42 AM »
Thanks guys!  You made me feel much better!
Now waiting for my doctor to come back.
I actually tried getting Indian generics the first time they didn't get my monthly supply on time.  It was weird: I found several online drugstores on my country (Mexico) selling them, but they couldn't sell them to me at the advertised price!  It seems they use some sort of legal loophole to sell them to the US and Canada, but they are not on stock here on this country (they seem to have their stock in England!) and they would need to charge me several additional taxes to be able to sell it and deliver it on Mexico!  Laws sometimes make no sense.

Offline scared2b

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Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 01:13:48 AM »
I'm in the exact same shoes!! I started exactly same time as you did and have been UD until this week my VL was 480. my doctor said that there is a blip in my VL and we're gonna repeat it in 2-4 weeks. but still, i have the same thoughts as you about resistance and stuff but i'm staying hopeful.

Offline leatherman

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Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 11:03:12 AM »
it's all about the trend (over at least 3 tests and over 6-8 weeks or more) and Never, ever, ever about the result of a single test.

If everyone would just remember this, there'd be a lot less stress, hair-pulling and fewer posts in these forums.  :D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)

All the stars are flashing high above the sea
and the party is on fire around you and me
We're gonna burn this disco down before the morning comes
- Pet Shop Boys

chart from 1992-2017

Offline moxieinme

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Re: Not undetectable anymore
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 12:39:09 PM »
I agree there's a good chance it's a blip. Be patient and investigate the trend.

Even if the next test(s) indicate viral resistance, the virus is still relatively subdued by your current meds and you shouldn't panic about finding a quick solution or making a sudden change. I have been on various regimens over the years because of resistance issues, and when I was waiting for my current  (successful) regimen to replace a failing one, my doctor wisely consoled me that the virus, while not UD, was beaten down, and I shouldn't panic. So I share that advice with you. Good luck!
Salvage therapy wrangler, riding the poz bronco and dodging bullets for over 24 years.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
CD4 at diagnosis 1989 = 330
Began treatment (AZT) 1989
Lowest labs 1998: CD4=74, 7%, VL=750,000
First sustained undetectable VL in 20 years (2009); CD4=315
Current labs (12/13): CD4=637, 27%, VL=<20
Current meds: Prezista, Isentress, Intellence, Norvir


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