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Author Topic: What are the symptoms of PCP?  (Read 3267 times)

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Offline Ihavehope

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  • Yes, I'm a cry baby, AND WHAT?
What are the symptoms of PCP?
« on: January 06, 2007, 04:43:27 PM »
I am concerrened about getting PCP and since i nevr usually getot sick when I was neg I dont know what to look out for, my CD4 count last time was 240 and will get my results of my new nums Thurs, if numbers do go down, what symptoms should I look out for?
Infected: April 2005
12/6/06 - Diagnosed HIV positive
12/19/06 - CD4 = 240  22% VL = 26,300
1/4/07 - CD4 = 200 16% VL = ?
2/9/07 = Started Kaletra/Truvada
3/13/07 = CD4 = 386 22% VL ?

Offline cubbybear

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  • Joined August 2005.
Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2007, 04:46:14 PM »
It's really no use in telling you what symtoms to watch out for, because like HIV, PCP symptoms are also non specific and resemble many other illnesses.  With your CD4 count, it's unlikely you would get PCP anyway, as most doctors will stop PCP prophylaxis when your counts are above 200 and stable for at least 3 months.

You can read more on PCP at this link on Aidsmeds.

Edited to add link.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2007, 04:59:51 PM by cubbybear »
There's a bear in there!
Positive since 2000
Diagnosed 17/9/2005 CD4 35 VL 293,000
Meds 23/9/2005 Sustiva/Truvada
Currently CD4 232 VL Undetectable

Offline David_CA

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2007, 11:57:57 PM »
I spent a week in the hospital the end of Nov to the beginning of Dec for PCP.  The symptoms I experienced were relatively mild... 'til right before I went into the hospital.  At this point, I was having night sweats, total lack of energy, no appetite, and looked like shit (according to MANY people).  I had shortness of breath, but this was similar to what I experienced when I'd have anxiety and panic attacks.  If you feel you're experiencing symptoms, an x-ray will usually tell.  My x-rays looked like two white balloons; my ribs weren't even visible.  My CD4's were around 285 when I started having my symptoms, so it varies from person to person.  While in the hospital, I started meds for the first time (Atripla) and take a Bactrim daily now 'til my CD4's rise.  I feel great now... pretty much like I did months ago.  I still get winded a lot easier than I did before the PCP, so I guess it takes a long time to completely get back to normal.


edited to add ... I forgot about the dry cough thing.  I thought it was some sort of cold, but I don't ususally have dry coughs with a cold.  It got so bad I had to sleep on the sofa for a while so my hubby could get some sleep. 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2007, 11:06:34 PM by David_NC »
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Christine

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2007, 11:21:20 AM »
I had pcp in March, and I presented with a bad chest cold, mild fever, mild cough, and had trouble catching my breath. I did not feel as bad as I thought I would. I thought I would feel much worse.

My initial chest x-ray was clear, then a CT scan revealed pcp, then a follow-up broncoscopy confirmed pcp.

At the time my t-cells were about 20, plus I was on Mepron for pcp prophylactic.

Different people present with different symptoms, in the future if you think you might have pcp, contact your doctor ASAP. It is not something to put off.
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline Gary

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2007, 06:02:03 PM »
hi, get it checked out,
my experience of PCP was similar to Davids, I couldn't get out of bed by the time I was hospitilised.
It was easily treated with septrin and I was back on my feet in a month or so.  I'd let it get to a bad stage
as I didn't know I was positive at the time and numerous trips to the doctor with a fever and shortness of breath only to be told there was nothing wrong nearly killed me.
Hope you feel better soon  ;)

Offline Nico

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2007, 08:24:01 PM »
Well my experience with PCP was not great.  So here is the story....

In late August 2001, I came down with a fever and dry cough.  I was not on meds and my T's were 450 and VL 50K.  Also been poz since late '89 early '90.  Did my duty and went to my former doc (had her since 1992) and she gave me an antibiotic and sent me on my way.  Me being a dumb ass went about my business flying around the country on for my job.

Long story short, I made two visits to her after that.  One was for a switch to Augmentin and the second two weeks later was because I could not climb the stairs to the second floor of my house.  On the last visit, I never saw the doc.  My partner drove me to the office and when the nurse saw my nails (purple), I was quickly placed on oxygen.  When I saw her, she said, I knew I should have taken a chest x-ray..too late B*.

I spent from 10/05/2001 to 10/25/2001 in the hospital with PCP.  I am allergic to sulfa meds, but that did not stop them from using Bactrim which led to thrush.  Did other meds came home in late Oct to only go back in for kidney failure for a week and then home for another week and then back for C-diff.  Did alot of time on the can for that!

My point, get a second opinion, get a chest x-ray and ask all the questions like you are doing here.  I never want to forget that time in my life.  I am also guilty of not taking an active role in my treatment.  I got a new doc an ID specialist in 2002, she knows I will come with a Power Point presentation until I get all my answers. 

So, if you are concerned about PCP, with your count, ask if you need preventive treatment.  Mepron was my liquid gold for many months.

Sorry to be so long winded (no pun).

Poz since 1990.

Offline cubbybear

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  • Joined August 2005.
Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2007, 09:13:17 PM »
Ok, if everyone is telling their PCP story...

Pre HIV diagnosis.  Dry cough that lasted several months, getting to the point where I was constantly coughing and couldnt sleep.  Thought it was bad bronchitis as it was mid winter.  I was spiking regular fevers over 38C, no energy, fainting often because I couldn't get enough oxgen in my body, rapid weight loss.  Local GP was treating me for bronchitis, and my xray came back normal.  Ended up going to hospital because I couldn't breathe, CT and Broncho confirmed the PCP and also pretty advanced oesophageal thrush.  Found out I had hiv + aids that day.  Stayed in hospital for 3 weeks.

It's interesting to see that some people get PCP at high cd4 counts, especially when the Drs recommend stopping prophylaxis at a stable count over 200.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 03:18:47 AM by cubbybear »
There's a bear in there!
Positive since 2000
Diagnosed 17/9/2005 CD4 35 VL 293,000
Meds 23/9/2005 Sustiva/Truvada
Currently CD4 232 VL Undetectable

Offline Eldon

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2007, 02:41:56 AM »

Hey Ihavehope,

Christine gave a good example of the symptoms that you should look out for. However, with your numbers should not have this as a concern. Take care of you. Remember the PMA.

"What can I notice right now that makes me smile?"

Offline sdcabincrew74

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2007, 04:36:17 PM »
Oh, PCP is a hoot.  I hate that freakin illness.  I was in the hospital for two weeks with it.  Started like a normal chest cold, and all went to hell.  Had a chest xray they thought it was TB!  Finally, CT scan and bronchoscopy and that confirmed it.  Fevers and unable to catch my breath or cough up any crap are the signs.  As long as I can cough up crap I know it is not PCP.  Since having PCP every cold I get settles in my chest......guess I have scar tissue there too.  I hate PCP, but bactrium works wonders and I am not allergic to it!
The difference between an overnight and a layover is luck!

Offline pozniceguy

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Re: What are the symptoms of PCP?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 05:37:54 PM »
I second the symptoms most have described above..bad cough ..weakness..shortness of breath  etc...my experience led me to a lung specialist when  treatment for "bronchitis " didn't seem to work...Lung Dr started to give me tests..looked at me as I tried to perform the "breathalyzer" and called the ambulance  and told them to take me to Hospital immediately...there doscovered the PCP..HIV..TB..Thrush..and some minor stuff.....three weeks later went home and had home treatment by visiting nurse for three more weeks...eventually had to have blood transfusions because the overwhelming amount of meds plus the weakness caused some damage to red cell production......I have survived all that and am pretty healthy today

To this day even a little cough sounds like I am going to spit up a lung....really bad stuff if you let it go to far
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas


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