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There is hope?
Dec 25, 2004

My story... 2 yrs ago I was diagnosed with AIDS/CNS Toxoplasmosis after being taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where I spent 11 days in the ICU; 5 of which I was comatose. My viral load was over 750,000 and my CD4 count was 1. Yes, I did not even have 2 to hold hands. After the hospital stay I was taken to The Carl Bean Hospice skilled nursing facility where I received constant medical supervision and physical therapy from their outstanding staff. To say it was very inconvenient would be an understatement. I firmly believed that I died and went to hell. I was still very frail when I was discharged and had to fly home to be with my family. I was depressed, embarassed, and horrified to have to face my family after this. But, I knew it was the only place I could get well again; rather selfish of me I know. I have been toughing it out and am hoping that one day I will be able to laugh nervously, and quickly change the subject... I am still bitter that not one of the ER physicians at CSMC ordered an HIV test or even consult with an Infectious Disease specialist on any of the three early visits; each time suspecting I had HIV due to Thrush, low WBC (so low that if I did have HIV it would have been AIDS), night sweats, dizziness and disorientation It was not practical to recommend that I get tested elsewhere given the fact that I was taken in twice by ambulance. That's a whole other story though, so I will just leave it with this quote and move on "The law is the rich man's justice". I did however get tested twice and the results came back indeterminate... The third time they came back negative. I recommend that everybody get a blood test to determine their HIV status. The oral fluid tests obviously have a larger margin of error. It's now two years later, my CD4 has been over 250 for the last 9 mos, my viral load is undetectable, and still the only thing keeping me going is the 200mg of zoloft I'm taking everyday. My doctor told me I could stop taking the meds for the Toxo which is a relief...I thought I was going to have to take that pharmacy of meds I was taking for the rest of my life. Whatever silly fag came up with the term cocktail should relinquish his crown. It's ridiculous to nickname life sustaining medication with something so asinine... Obviously whomever came up with that nickname never tasted Kaletra in its liquid form.

I am an avid reader, and I appreciate everybody at the Body

Thanks,

Response from Dr. Pierone

Yes, there is hope. Even when someone is diagnosed very late and in a life-threatening situation (like yours) there is the potential for immune reconstitution and an excellent long-term outcome. I agree with you that early testing in preferable to going through the ordeal that you endured. Thanks for posting.



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