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New Poz - need point of reference - confused
Jun 22, 2013

Mr. Vergel -

I was diagnosed one month ago. Prior to this I have always had very good health. I know for a fact it was a very recent infection; 5 months at the very longest, but I believe more like 12 weeks. My numbers at diagnosis were CD4 935, VL 400. I was put on Atripla, and 28 days later was UD with CD4 at 1075.

I have been on the Internet for hours every day trying to understand my new reality. You seem to be one of the most balanced and educated sources I have found.

In a nutshell - I am confused. Much of what I see from seemingly reputable articles / medical sources is that I should expect an essentially normal life. But then you read posts from various poz people, and they seem to be dealing with terrible issues. Is this mostly because they may be LTS? Or, that they have other health issues because of smoking, drinking, drugs, or just normal other health issues that are not HIV related? I realize every person is different and you do not have a crystal ball - but I am SO CONFUSED about the seemingly contradictory information.

In a nutshell, for an essentially very healthy person, just diagnosed with what I told you above, can you speak from your perspective to my quality and length of life?

Last comment. The only thing I have experienced this month of significance is a slight increase in joint pain. I have always had this to a small degree, so I would say it has gone from a 1 to a 2 on a 1-10 scale.

Thank you so much.

Response from Mr. Vergel

You are one of the few and lucky ones that started early with a high CD4 cell count. I would predict that you will probably do great and experience hardly any side effects or quality of life issues seen in people who start a lot later or who, like me, have been infected for a long time and exposed to old toxic medications.

Joint pain or muscle soreness/body aches with flu like symptoms sometimes may appear during the first few weeks in people with low baseline CD4 cells as the immune system starts getting better. A minority has immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), but this is usually only seen in people who start with CD4 cells under 100.

You may want to watch this video I made for newly diagnosed people:

Stronger than HIV

You should be proud of yourself for taking charge so quickly.

Nelson



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