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LordBerners
Newbie

Reged: 10/22/07
Posts: 8
First Evaluation
      #232970 - 10/25/07 11:07 AM

I just got back my first set of test results - for CD4 and VL. The doctor told me over the phone that it was CD4 - 300, and VL 755,000. She didn't say anything about percentages or anythnig else. I guess those are rather bad numbers, particularly for someone who probably has only been infected about two years, and who hasn't had any noticable symptoms yet.

Anyway, the doctor stressed that I must come in as soon as possible and must begin taking anti-hiv medications as soon as possible.. so made an appoinmtent for two weeks hence. I still feel quite unsure about all this. Should I get a second opinion? Another test? What do those numbers mean? A bad prognosis or really nothing definitive? Is there anything different about the virus prevalent in Southeast Asia?

Hope to hear from anyone knowledgable.

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vokz
Grand Master

Reged: 09/06/07
Posts: 164
Loc: London, UK
Re: First Evaluation new
      #232979 - 10/25/07 06:45 PM

Whilst you will probably feel a little disappointed, you really should not view those results as “bad”.

They are still good enough that you have a functioning immune system and can start treatment in the recommended timeframe (i.e. without it being an emergency), minimise the likelihood of complications and have a very good prognosis indeed.

No-one can tell you that you HAVE to start treatment; but if you want to ensure that you continue to stay as healthy as you feel right now, then it would certainly be in your interest to follow your doctor’s advice and think seriously about starting now, so that you can avoid opportunistic infections and prevent further damage being done. For that reason I don’t see any point in you asking for a second opinion .. it will just delay the inevitable.

This link has various articles that will help you understand your blood tests:

http://www.thebody.com/index/treat/diagnostic_tests.html

.. but your CD4 count of 300 basically suggests that your immune system is still just about healthy enough to deal with most opportunistic infections (200 is the number you really don’t want to be hitting, if you can avoid it) and your viral load (755,000) is quite high (but not abnormally so).

Once again, I really would like to stress that you should not view those numbers as “bad”. The bad news was that you were HIV-positive. The good news is that with those lab results you will be able to start treatment much earlier than most people do, and therefore have an excellent prognosis.


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movingon
Fanatic

Reged: 08/27/07
Posts: 66
Re: First Evaluation new
      #232998 - 10/26/07 11:16 AM

i have had 2 sets of labs so far, 1st was cd4 284, VL 98,000, 2nd was CD4 330 , VL 257,000. My doc is doing a 3rd set in about 2 weeks and doesn't seem in any major hurry to get me on meds, but said that starting now would e preemptive .

Dont stress too much about it, as this does no good. Listen to Vokz , starting meds is inevitable, but i am told one must get his / her head right first.

good luck

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LordBerners
Newbie

Reged: 10/22/07
Posts: 8
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233009 - 10/26/07 02:14 PM

Hi lostnscared,

I agree that medication is inevitable, but I was a bit surprised that my doctor is in such a rush.. I thought that it was usual to do several checks, perhaps over a few months.

Can useful information be gained over time, if one is more patient, about trends,etc, which might suggest which medicines to prescribe? If not, I guess I might as well dive in, but naturally I was hoping that it would be a year or two away (as I believe I've only been infected for about 2 years).

For me the number one consideration is cost.. I'll know more about that after my follow up in a week.. I'll post that on here.

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movingon
Fanatic

Reged: 08/27/07
Posts: 66
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233036 - 10/26/07 10:17 PM

Berners - from what i have learned and found out, it seems different doctors have different views as to when to start, how many labs to do etc. The important thing is to trust your doctor and roll with it. I didn't like my doctor initially , but persistance has paid off and i now have a decent relationship with him. I think your in Thailand right ? I am also in south east asia so feel free to send me a private message if you wish to chat more in general terms . The main thing i am trying to focus on at this time (off meds) is 1) Enjoying my time off meds, 2) getting A1 fit, eating healthy, and trying to be as positive as i can about the future - it is hard, that there is no doubt, but stick with it mate

cheers

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vokz
Grand Master

Reged: 09/06/07
Posts: 164
Loc: London, UK
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233052 - 10/27/07 03:47 AM

LordBerners,

Your doctor probably will do more tests, but the process of preparing you has to start somewhere.

Unless there is something you haven't told us, I would be quite shocked if your actual treatment started in two weeks time; but your doctor will want to talk to you about your options and have a fuller understanding of your circumstances.

HIV medication isn't like starting a course of antibiotics.

Mark



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Leonardo
Guru

Reged: 08/07/07
Posts: 233
Loc: New Jersey
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233054 - 10/27/07 10:18 AM

Hey,

My doctor started me on meds after my first set of labs. My cd4 was 330 and my vl was 58,000.

My second labs were cd4 634 and vl of a mere 80. I have no regrets.

Leo


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LordBerners
Newbie

Reged: 10/22/07
Posts: 8
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233058 - 10/27/07 01:44 PM

LostNScared,
Its great to talk to someone else who is in Southeast Asia. So, I don't know why my doctor is in such a huge rush.. she told me on the phone she wanted to 'get me on medicine as soon as possible'! She's at one of the best hospitals in Bangkok.. what can I say maybe she's used to rich people who want to just Do Something.

In my case the big consideration is financial.. I understand medication is cheaper here than in the West but still I can't afford it.. I've heard several hundred dollars a month and the income for an expat teacher like me is about $1,000/month. So I'm going to have to put the brakes on as long as possible because it will be a huge blow to the lifestyle to get meds..


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LordBerners
Newbie

Reged: 10/22/07
Posts: 8
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233059 - 10/27/07 01:51 PM

Thanks for the input, Leonardo. I agree that assuming no more than the usual side-effects, there is no reason to wait on medication, but my reason is financial. I'm just getting by on a teacher's salary here in Thailand, and don't relish the idea of maybe having my living budget cut in half by having to buy the meds!

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Leonardo
Guru

Reged: 08/07/07
Posts: 233
Loc: New Jersey
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233060 - 10/27/07 02:50 PM

Oh ok. Wow, I'm surprised that teachers don't get medical benefits, even if it is Thailand.

Leo


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LordBerners
Newbie

Reged: 10/22/07
Posts: 8
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233067 - 10/27/07 04:13 PM

Oh, Thai teachers do, but not foreigners. I'm a little concerned as my first round of tests cost about $225, which is a bit rough on an income of $1,000/month.

I dread going home though, where I think treatment is even more out of reach for the uninsured.

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impoz
All Star

Reged: 10/12/07
Posts: 89
Loc: Vegas Baby
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233069 - 10/27/07 06:25 PM

My CD4's are 323 and VL 23,900 wonder if Doc will recommend meds?

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movingon
Fanatic

Reged: 08/27/07
Posts: 66
Re: First Evaluation new
      #233084 - 10/27/07 11:30 PM

i am pretty sure that there are some government options available there , as in most countries in SEA - i will help you check it out

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