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PozInFl
Member

Reged: 06/29/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Northeastern FL
Treatment
      #111996 - 09/28/04 10:58 AM

Hi Everyone,

I'm very confused about an issue recently presented to me by my specialist...I respect him immensely, and he is the best in this area...I was diagnosed in June, 2004 as HIV +, seroconverted in May, 2004...My CD4 is 944 and viral load is 22,354...He is suggested meds already to bring down my viral load and stated that the medical community believes that if you get someone on meds in the first year it preserves their CD4 system better, although there is no conclusive research or proof...

This is something I didn't think I would have to deal with for a few years and am still trying to just grasp the idea beyond the theory in my head that I'm POZ, and this has really jammed me up good...I've spoken to some friends and professionals, who all agree and disagree, and again, put this back on me...

Any input???

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112011 - 09/28/04 09:24 PM

HI,
I was diagnosed in May 2003, seroconverted that same month. I chose to start treatment in July 2003, I am on Epivir, Viread and Sustiva. My cd4 was around 900 as well when I started. By October of 2003 my viral load was undetectable and my cd4 level is now greater than normal (over 1700). The meds were hard to get used to at first and now I am tired a lot but no other side effects. I am a health care professional and chose this route. My viral load was actually coming down on its own but decided I wanted it to be undetectable as soon as possible, while I still had an immune system to fight off any thing else that might come my way. Adjusting to the diagnosis is tough, adjusting to meds was just a little hard. I never missed work because of it. Give yourself time. My doctor was noncomittal on the treatment for me. Just be sure you are ready to stay on the meds once you start. You have to take them every day. I take 2 pills in the morning and one in the evening. They could all be taken in the evening if you want. It isn't as bad as it once was. Good luck my friend. I've been there and know what you are going through. If you have people to talk to please do. Keep talking.
Joe from Chicago

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Moffie
All Star

Reged: 02/14/04
Posts: 85
Loc: Arizona
Re: Treatment new
      #112038 - 09/29/04 09:05 AM

Hi Poz;
I would have loved to have the choice of pills or no pills.
As you stated in your question, the jury is still out on this one, but for the many who start early, I feel that they have better chances of living with HIV as a managable pain in the rear, rather than a life or death situation.
I waited until I went to full AIDS due to the lack of medication choices, and then ended up almost dead in 1994. My virus is now resistant to all but the six that are now part of my HAART cocktail, and I consume 32 pills a day for various and asundry problems related to a damaged imune system.
In 1994 when I started meds, I had a CD4 of 20 and in those days vl was not measurable, but was estimated at about 1 million. Today my CD4 is stable at about 700 and my vl is non-detectible, and that has happened only in the last year.
This question is a really good one, but in the end you must be the captain of your soul and body, and make the decision on your own.
Just remember, eventually you will have to be on medication if survival and normalcy is your goal, and it matters not when you start, you will have to be on them for the rest of your life, or until there is a cure, which ever comes first :o)

Thanks for letting me share, Peace, out.


--------------------
Yours;
Tim
"Living Positive Since '83"

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112066 - 09/30/04 06:47 AM

I was diagnosed 10-'03. VL=230K, CD4=<100.
I immediately started with Reyataz, Combivir, Norvir.
Incredible results! Within 3 months, Zero/250. Had my CD4 been higher (over 800), my doc would have still recommended the treatment. B-12 has dramatically helped my eyesight. Back to wearing contacts.
I am very healthy, active and still running my business of 10 sales people, along with 4 warehouse people.
I could not have found a more informed, compassionate doc.
One of the reasons I live/love Seattle, WA.
I have told only my immediate family(7) and will continue to live a "normal" life, along with my 6am/6pm pills. Not bad compared to 15 years ago....every2 hours...when most died of meds!

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PozInFl
Member

Reged: 06/29/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Northeastern FL
Re: Treatment new
      #112070 - 09/30/04 09:18 AM

Thanks everyone for your experiences, input and kind words...they help a lot...In theory I know I'm poz, the reality is really slapping me in the face lately...which is hard, and I just keep hoping it's a bad dream and I will wake up, yeah right...

I have a great support network around me and am going to start counseling very soon...I'm told by all, that I'm handling it much better than so many others they know...I could only imagine...

Thanks again
Peace to all...

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112071 - 09/30/04 10:01 AM

I understand how confusing this can be. I have been positive for two years. In the beginning, my CD4 was 900 and my VL was 40,000. My most recent lab work revealed CD4 of 550 and a viral load of 122,000. I am not on any meds. My specialist actually thought that she shouldn't start my treatment until my CD4 count was below 350. I don't know what the answer is. I think that HIV reacts so differently with each person that specialists are at a loss for consistency. The meds can only help to make you undetectable.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112530 - 10/09/04 01:32 AM

I wouldn't do it. But I would ask Ben Young and David Wohl what they think. They answer questions in the starting treatment forum.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112536 - 10/09/04 02:59 PM

I think its your fault if you get HIV for having sex , check everyone out before u do them ^_^

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112736 - 10/13/04 03:48 AM

With medications now available to choose from, although none without side effects, I would choose to go the meds route. When I was first diagnosed, the choices were natural or AZT. I chose natural, which worked pretty good for some time. I am on Sustiva, Epivir & Viread with excellent results in spite of having almost bit the dust.

As for the comments about early or wait on treatment, much is your choice. Mine would be earlier, as the damage to your immune system is somewhat reversable, but not completely and not always. The healthier you are when you start also determines how well your body is able to process the medications. HIV and opportunistic infections can damage your liver and kidneys, the primary waste processors for the meds. Active (non-suppressed VL) can reduce the effectiveness of the blood-brain barrier, which can lead to HIV damage to brain cells, along with other infections being able to pass freely also.

I try to keep my medications taken at somewhat different times, with Viread & Epivir in the AM with food, Epivir with dinner, and Sustiva at bedtime. I still have side effects from the Sustiva. My theory, along with things I have studied, leads me to believe that it reduces peak loading on the body, without affecting the medication response. Exercise is also important to minimizing the damage of meds on your body in general.

I also take vitamin suppliments (especially B complex high dose) as the medications do somewhat interfer with the absorbing and retention of water-soluble vitamins.

Hope this is of some use, as I am coming up on 19 years pos (knowing, and God knows how long before that), and although not a medical professional, try to keep up with the latest and general health knowledge.





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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112767 - 10/13/04 09:27 PM

you forgot to add that the meds may also maintain your CD4 count to high levels, and therefore keep you less prone to opportunistic infections.

CD4 counts go back up, once on meds, and depending on the individual, it's a process that can be quick or sometimes extremely slow. A friend of mine saw his CD4 counts take 3 years to go from 250 to 320!

That's why in my humble opinion, it is safer to start the meds sooner than later.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Treatment new
      #112847 - 10/17/04 09:38 PM

Wow...to start meds or not...I am a physician and recently HIV+. I had a seroconversion illness which led me and my doctor to a diagnosis.

The unfortunate truth is that we don't know if early HIV treatment with meds is beneficial. There have not yet been any good randomized studies to answer this question. There have been some observational studies which are very promising. I did a lot of reading before deciding to start meds. Here are some reasons to start meds early: 1) to treat symptoms, 2) to halt viral evolution at a time of minimal viral diversity, 3) to protect developing immune responses from the deleterious effects of sustained HIV viremia, 4) to reduce the viral set point, 5) and to limit the latent pool. These are from: Pilcher, CD. Acute HIV revisited: new opportunities for treatment and prevention. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. April 2004.

There is also a clinical trial not yet recruiting patients that will study whether or not early treatment is beneficial:
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00084032?order=7

I decided to start meds even before my antibody test became positive (I did have a + viral load). This is a decision that you need to make with your doctor, though. I am taking Lexiva and Epzicom and don't really have any significant side-effects.

Hope this is helpful.

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