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HIV Life >> I Just Tested Positive

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Reged: 02/16/10
Posts: 1
Loc: Kansas
Just Diagnosed With a CD4 Count of 5
      #249445 - 02/16/10 11:00 PM

In October '09, I became sick. I was stubborn and didn't start seeing a doctor until December. The doctor at the Student Health Center tried treating the multiple infections he found. I was also severely anemic. Since I am a veteran, he recommended that I seek out care at the VA hospital because all he could do was prescribe antibiotics. He brought up HIV, and even offered a test the last time I saw him in early January. I told him the VA would run the tests anyway.

Mid-January I had my appointment at the VA. A week later they called me in to admit me to ICU. On January 25th, 2009 I was diagnosed as HIV positive and classified an AIDS patient. They told me my CD4 count was 5.

I was floored. It felt like my mind was trying to escape from my body to run away from this. Even worse, I had no idea how my wife would react. When I asked the doctor to step out so I could tell her, I just said, "You need to get tested." She withdrew a little, tensed up, teared up. And I lost it. I begged her to forgive me for killing us both and for bringing this into our lives (I am ashamed to admit it, but I step out on her several times in 2007. She found out but we got through it). I begged her not to leave me. And she said she wouldnít. She stayed strong for me.

The next morning, she went to a clinic up the street and took the rapid test. By some miracle, she tested negative. That enabled us to breath a little bit (my wife finally lost it that following Sunday and cried for an hour). Her parents came down to see us and were extremely supportive (even after she told them I cheated on her). Next, we told some close friends - they were shocked, but still loved the both of us. And then finally, I told my parents. Telling your parents over the phone since they are half a country away is hard. My parents though, they still love me, no matter what.

Now, almost a month after, I am still anxious. I tend to let my mind do itís own thing, and itís interfering with my studies, so I may have to drop this semester (the job market here is in the toilet, so I canít really quit my job). Iím especially anxious, because the one thing I found out is that it takes five to ten years for HIV to manifest AIDS. Which means I could have been infected in high school (Iím 26). If thatís so, OMG all the people I may have infected and even worse, the Army somehow didnít catch it. They test you when you in-process during enlistment and when out-process when you leave (which for me was 2005). Both of those tests were negative.

However, I am fortunate. My wife, my parents, her family, our friends - they all have been extremely supportive. I donít know how Iíd handle this if they werenít in my life. Itís hard now, but I know with them behind me, I can take this thing head on and live. After all, Iíll be damned if my mother puts me in the ground first.

If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!

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Reged: 06/18/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Georgia
Re: Just Diagnosed With a CD4 Count of 5 new
      #249482 - 02/19/10 01:31 AM

Congratulations on getting tested and finally seeking help!!! In reading your missive I get the feeling that you're upset about having cheated on your wife but greatful and happy she's stuck it out with you. I'm not going to try to judge you. What has happened, has happened. That's a matter to be discussed between you and your wife. Noone else.

You said your CD4 was 5 in mid-January. I can't say for certain, but I'd be willing to go out on a limb and guess that number has increased significantly. I don't think mine was ever 5, but I did get down to the low teens. 11 years ago. Before I started treatment. It takes time for the number to go up, so don't be surprised or dissapointed if that number remains relatively low for the next year or so.

Yes, telling one's parents across country can be emotionally devastating. That's how my parents found out. But, they accepted me for me and continued to love me.

Your wife is very lucky to be negative. Hopefully, she'll remain that way. She should be retested 6 months from the last date the two of you had sex without a condom.

As for the people you've slept with in the time since you think you became postive - there could have been noone other than your wife. The "five to ten" year time frame for HIV to become AIDS in the untreated person is an average. Often no more than an educated guess. You could have contracted HIV from any of the people you slept with. Each person is different. If the Army tested you both going in and coming out I would tend to agree with their test results.

That's the thing about HIV - there are NO outside warning signs. A person who's HIV+ isn't going to have red balloons floating above their head. They aren't going to have an arm or a leg rotting off. Their head isn't going to be turned backwards. They ARE going to look just like everybody else walking down the street.

I first tested positive way back before the dinosaurs. If I can rememebr correctly, I was about 24. (The memory goes when you get to be as old as I am.) Let's just be nice and say that was more than 20 years ago. My last tests showed a CD4 of over 800 and an undetectable viral load. (You'lll have to ask your doctor about the "viral load" test.)

I've had friends who go to the VA for treatment. They are continuing to do well. Despite the horror stories we hear about VA hospitals (and I'm here to neither confirm nor deny the rumors) many of the doctors there offer excellant care to our former service members.

Continue to go to the doctor when you have an appointment. Call the clinic at the hospital when you need to. DON'T wait until you're so sick someone else has to call for you.

I like to think of the human body as a batch of tests. You've basically failed the first test by allowing yourself to become so run down as to almost die. Don't fail again. You only have so many tests built in. How many noone can say, but the number is not infinate.

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