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I tested positive two months ago
      #3294 - 04/06/00 10:09 PM

I'm a 36yr GWM who tested HIV positive 2 months ago. The shock was enough to blow me away. My doctor settled me down and told me not to worry(right). He said that since I haven't had any serious illness that I must still be in the early stages. Well when my 2nd set of tests came back showing a CD4 count of 350 he said we'll draw more blood and do another test and then we'll have to make some decisions. I am very new to this and I admit very scared. I have a lot of stress in my life at the moment and having to deal with this also is almost enough to do me in. I need some advice. Do I wait to have a more precice test reading after my stess issues have been dealt with, While keeping a close monitor on counts and continued tests. How much does stress play a part on my test results. Also I'm not getting the rest I need nor a steady diet of anything. I probley sound like a prime candidate for death row. I don't have anyone to talk to and whats bottled up inside me is gonna blow soon. I was kinda hopeing to find someone to chat with. Anyway. I don't want to start the drugs until I have to. but I don't want to get to low in my counts and have to have a long battle with something nasty. I know I sound pretty nieve. I do try to read a lot but I find everything so conflicting and opionated It's hard to know whats right and what isn't. If you have time to drop a note. or anthing positive for me to grasp in my time of need I would thank you greatly. Dwayne

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Re: I tested positive two months ago new
      #3295 - 04/06/00 10:10 PM

Dwayne - The first 6 months to a year after diagnosis can be VERY frustrating and confusing. There is so much differing information on treatments and therapies that it makes it almost impossible to deal with everything at once......SO DON'T!! Stress does play a major role in your lab results as does lack of sleep, poor diet, etc. However, your lab results are low enough, don't be surprised if your MD does start you on some form of therapy.

The GOOD NEWS (and there is LOTS of it) is that most people who have never been on any previous therapy (as I assume you have) tend to do really well on medications. My T-cell were 65 and viral load was 450,000 when I was diagosed 3.5 years ago.....I was scared to death. I started on combination therapy and I have had undetectable viral load and my CD4 has been 200-400 the entire time.

The most important thing at this point is to take your doctor's advice, deal with your grief, and continue living. I know that may sound simple - I KNOW IT'S NOT - but life DOES go on and you WILL get through this difficult period.

If you don't already - form a support network of family and friends. Get in a support group QUICKLY - and while you may choose not to stay involved with this for long - it will help you deal with the initial period following your diagnosis.

I know you feel like your life is over - it's not over - but it will never be the same again....and that doesn't have to have a negative thing. My HIV has taught me a lot of things - to value every day like it is your last. Never pass up on the opportunity to help someone or BE helped.

Hang in there, buddy - you will make it!!

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Re: I tested positive two months ago new
      #3296 - 04/06/00 10:11 PM

Dwayne: I don't that I can add anything additional to the good advice that has already been offered. All I know is that my heart
always goes out to those who are dealing with this for the first time.
I have been positive for over ten years and by the time I was diagnosed, I was full blown with 65 T's. Absolutely nothing worked
for me until protease inhibitors came along. After almost 5 years of
disability, tomorrow is my first day of classes. I'm starting on my
Masters in Social Work to, you guessed it!, work in HIV/AIDS. So,
there is life beyond this diagnosis and somehow we do get through.

Whatever it takes, you need to find a way to reduce the stress. Ask
the doctor for an anti-depressant if it gets too bad. Get some sleep
and feed yourself. Your number one priority should be you!!!! Support groups are a valuable tool and check with your doctor about
"buddy systems" in your area. You need someone close by to reinforce
the fact that you are not going out of your mind. Because, You're NOT!!! Don't let anyone kid you, this is not easy. But you need to
ask yourself one simple question...(just like I did)...Do I plan to
live or die with this? Most of us will opt to go kicking and screaming. I'm sure you're not different.

You said that you've started reading about HIV. Good!!! The better
your education, the less your fear. Make sure you read everything
regarding good nutrition and supplements. (Vitamins) Ask your doctor
if a dietitian will be available to you. Check you local bookstore
for HIV related cookbooks.

In any case, it has been two weeks since you posted, so I hope you're
feeling somewhat better by now. I see that you've gotten some nice
replies and I'm sure you'll be seeing more. You are not alone. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me with questions, concerns or just
to chat. I'd love to know how you're doing. Very best wishes and love.......Gregg Heffner Syracuse,NY

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Re: I tested positive two months ago new
      #3297 - 04/06/00 10:11 PM

Hey man, trust in the lord for he is all we need in life. You are his child as I am, gay, poz or whatever.

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Re: I tested positive two months ago new
      #3298 - 04/06/00 10:14 PM

Hi Dwayne,
This is Richard writing from London.I sympathis greatly with your situation-I was tested positive only a month ago and was very shocked also.Believe me-every point you raise in your message I have also had to go through.My counsellor told me this week that I will probably feel crap about it for 3-4 months yet.So-you are not alone.
Do you have any support or counselling available to you there?
Wether to start taking drugs is a huge decision and one I too have to make.I have a CD4 count of 300.I have decided to wait until the New Year to start after talking with other positive men and my Doctor-but it is a hugely personal decision and one that only you can decide.The bottom line is that with your CD4 count you probably have a little time to decide when to start medication.I spoke to a positive guy at a charity in London and his CD4 count was 20-it really put things into perspective.
I guess it's a question also of wether you can cope mentally with not taking medication and therefore thinking you are not doing anything about the virus-and balancing that with the huge impact on lifestyle taking the drug regime would be.I personally have decided that I want one last Christmas without being on pills-'cos once you are on them you are probably on them for life.
It's all pretty crap huh!
Anyway-if you want to write me at all feel free

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Re: I tested positive two months ago new
      #3299 - 04/06/00 10:15 PM

Hi Dwayne,
This is the first time I've been on this web site, I found it in my poz magazine. You're the first person's little "blurb" I read, and thought I'd respond. I'm 26 years old, and have been HIV positive for over 8 years now. Thinking back, the most comforting thing for me was talking to people who had been healthy, and positive for awhile. That way I didn't feel like I was going to die. Your counts don't sound that bad. You've been under a lot of stress. Just give yourself time to feel all the emotions that come up. I started meds shortly after testing, but a lot has changed in the past 8 years in treatment options. This is a good time to have HIV, if you have to have it. I know you're somewhat connected, since you've already left a message on here. Just take the time you need to feel. You're not going to die tomorrow, or the day after. You are not alone. Always remember that. Write to me if you want to, if not, good luck to you. You have a healthy lifetime ahead of you. -Joel

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