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Jun 26, 2003

Hello Nelson,

First of all can I say that finding this web site has been my saviour. I was diagnosed HIV+ 3 months ago and thought I was coping quite well until now. My CD4 was 570 and VL 65,000 for my first blood test, my CD4 was 485 and VL 16,000 a few weeks later, why such a large drop in my CD4? I am due for another blood test mid August. I have a lovely family and fantastic friends who have been very supportive and non judgmental, but when I'm alone I cannot stop crying and thinking of all the worst case scenarios. Will I waste away will I suffer unnecessarily, why me etc etc. I don't speak of these things to friends or family as I do not want to upset them, and who wants to see a 35 year old man cry :-) My doctor assures me that I will not need medication for several years, is this correct? and when I do will it go downhill from there? I have read that medication gets weaker as time goes by? I cannot seem to look ahead and plan my future anymore as it all seems pointless, I feel sad, miserable, pathetic, lonely and scared and am desperate for some kind of reassurance. Please help. Thank you

Response from Mr. Vergel

I know that a drop from 570 to 485 T cells seems large to you, but believe me, that kind of fluctuation is not that much. Just the fact that your viral load went down from 65,000 to 16,000 by itself is great news. Your doctor may be right that you may not need medications for a while. But you need to monitor your blood work every 3 months to make sure. Also, even though it is not a standard thing to do, ask your doctor to run a genotype test to make sure that you did not get a resistant virus ( 14% of patients may get a virus that may show some resistance to one or more drug classes)

You caught your HIV early enough and your T cells are way above 200. The guidelines for treatment in the present are for T cells under 350 and viral loads over 35,000 or 50,000 depending on the test you use (or if you have symptoms.) So you are way above this!

Take care of yourself, eat well,and try to get support in support groups or counseling since this early time is hard on anyone. Also, you may want to try yoga, meditations, and other techniques that would lower your stress and worrying. I have been living with this virus for 20 years, have never had an undetectable viral load, and here I am!

If you ever need treatment, send us an email to discuss what your options are. Take it easy. Living with HIV is not easy but it becomes very manageable as time goes by and our fears dissipate. nelson

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