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HIV Life >> I Just Tested Positive

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GradStudent1
Newbie

Reged: 02/10/13
Posts: 2
Old questions, but the answers are new to me
      #270576 - 02/10/13 11:13 AM

I have just in the past 48 hrs received my diagnosis. I will not see my case manager for one week from tomorrow. I know that in the meantime I will believe that every cough and sniffle I have means the end. My real fear is the money issue. I am a graduate student, so I have room and board. What I do not have is a lot of disposable income.
Will I be denied medication because I can't pay for it?
This is actually my most immediate fear.
My next fear is that I will be too sick to continue school.
My biggest fear is telling my family.
Thoughts?


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riverprincessModerator
Moderator

Reged: 12/25/11
Posts: 1662
Loc: Jersey Shore
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270577 - 02/10/13 01:32 PM

As for the medication, where ever you got tested , there should be a case worker who will help you fill out whatever forms you need for various programs. One of the most used programs is ADDP ( Aids DistributionDrugProgram) And there may be others also through the state or federal. As for your schooling , there is no reason why that should change due to health. Many people still workand as for your family , alot of it will depend on how you see it yourself. For example if you see it as the end of the world , so will your family. If you see it as something that is quite managable so will they. Sure at first it going to shock and upset but to have knowledge to share and the attitude of still life to live to its fullest then that is how they will see it also. You know there are things that are much worse to have to deal with . You will see , down the road, why I can be so casual about this. I've been pos for over 20 yrs and on meds for over 18. You can pm me any time you want to talk more about it. All the best with your schooling. What are you majoring in?

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notinterested
All Star

Reged: 09/07/11
Posts: 127
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270579 - 02/10/13 02:06 PM

First, relax and breathe and no everything will be fine. Don't try and feel like you have to find answers to everything at once. Take your time and think things true. I think you will find there are options to take care of your medication, so don't worry about that. As for school, I was in grad school when I found out. I immediately withdrew as I knew I wouldn't be able to focus and give my best. After being our of school for a month, I found myself to be constanlly depressed and dwellling on HIV and all negative stuff. It was horrible. I very much missed school and just living and my normal routine. I hated just moping around and crying and being sad so I ended my medical withdrawal from school and jumped right back in and it was the best thing I could have done. I was not thinking about it and was back interacting with people and getting my mind off of the negative stuff. I don't regret taking a month off though. I did need to reevaluate things and make some changes and set up dr appointments, get informed etc... but soo glad I got back to life after that month. As for telling your family, I would recommend thinking long and hard about that. I told a few family members at a time I was very vulnerable and I now completely regret it. It's something I could never take back and I know they will identify me with HIV the rest of my life versus all of the other wonderful things about me. HIV will be number 1 on thier minds and I wish I had figured that out before as I would have never told them. Telling family and friends is a very serious decision that should not be taken lightly in my opinion so be sure if you tell anyone that you understand the seriousness of it. Don't feel like they are the only ones who can give you support if you need it. Most communities have support groups you cab attend as well as the online support groups such as this one.

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GradStudent1
Newbie

Reged: 02/10/13
Posts: 2
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270580 - 02/10/13 02:14 PM

My problem with the family is that, because I'm in grad school, I live with them part-time... how can I hide this when I am living with them?

I'm very glad to hear what you say about school. I was concerned that my feeling that I should keep myself busy with productive things was just denial...

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notinterested
All Star

Reged: 09/07/11
Posts: 127
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270581 - 02/10/13 03:10 PM

That's a tough one. If you feel they will be supportive and be with you and help you through this, then it might be ok to tell them. If your not sure and don't feel like you can hide this from them, maybe you can live with friends or talk to your case manager about it. I'm so sorry your in this dilemma. Just take one day at a time and again don't rush to any major decisions. Know that you are loved and supported by those of us in this forum and I just know you will be loved and supported by those in your community support groups if you choose to attend them. I have to honeslty say, I only attended one, when I was first diagnosed. I have to tell you, I felt such love and support from complete strangers in that group. Many of them came up to me and hugged me and told me it would all be ok. I didn't go back for various reasons but certainly not for the reason I felt I wasn't loved and supported. Feel free to private message me anytime if you want to chat. Hang in there though and know all will be ok in time and things will eventually fall into place.

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Malchiek
Newbie

Reged: 02/12/13
Posts: 1
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270591 - 02/12/13 02:11 PM

Hello there,

I just wanted to say that I completely understand where you are coming from. I have never posted in here before, but saw your post and had to register to give you a little comfort. I was just diagnosed in the end of July, 2012. It was extremely hard and for the most part, it seemed like I was in chaos. I was also in grad school, I just recently have finished my MSW. I can say that continuing with school was a godsend for me. It was something that I could control. It was tangible and real. It helped me feel as if there was still a life for me and something that I could accomplish...being sick and all.

The next stretch is going to be hard. I had a CD4 of 39 when I was diagnosed, it has been a tough battle to get healthier. But, it is something that I strive for everyday. For the first month and a half of taking medications I felt completely ill and sick, but that passed. Sometimes I thought that there was nothing for me and that I would never succeed at life, but that passed as well. Surprising enough, I am now working as a medical social worker in the agency that first started my case management. Life does go on and you will still have many successes. Hold on to that thought and know that many people have been in your shoes and have made the journey that you are taking.

When it comes to the medication, being a grad student means that you are lacking in income. That means that you will more than likely be able to qualify for one of several things (AIDS Drug Assistance Programs through the state, Medicaid depending on your levels, Prescription Assistance Programs through the pharmaceutical companies, etc.). There are many options out there. What is even greater is the affordable care act is about to start. That will increase the health benefits of people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Don't give up. Stay strong. One of the greatest things to do is realize that you only have to disclose to the people who you want to...and who will support you. Only a couple of people know about my status. Those people have been a great support. You are still who you are...this does not define you! No one needs to know unless you make that choice.

Let me know if there is any support that you need. I will keep you in my thoughts. I know that you will be able to succeed with this.

Matthew

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DJones
All Star

Reged: 04/02/09
Posts: 84
Loc: Milwaukee Wisconsin
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270595 - 02/12/13 04:26 PM

Hello
Everything you are feeling is normal. I started a blog the day I found out I was HIV on January 2009. The link is below. I write daily and am very honest what life has been from that day going forward. You are not alone in this and hopefully my blog will show you life does go on.
Contact me if you want to talk, my email is on my blog site.

--------------------
http://daveslifelivingwithhiv.blogspot.com/

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BrokenWingedBird
Expert

Reged: 11/30/04
Posts: 113
Loc: United Kingdom.
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270603 - 02/13/13 07:55 AM

Hi GradStudent1,

I'm glad to see that others have already given you advice. You'll always find company here. So you have every chance of always having all your questions answered, either by one of the Body's Medical Experts or by someone here in the Forum.

I just want to say you may be the kind of personality who will want to know a lot about your condition and all its ramifications, in which case you should expect to do a lot of learning from The Body's many excellent pages over the course of the next few years. But eventually there will come a time when you will be on top of the information, so that when you see people posting questions you will feel you know the answers. From that point on you will continue to read the Body bulletins for anything new which may be pertinent.

Meanwhile you'll have adjusted to your treatment regimen, you'll cope with whatever side-effects you may experience, and you'll be able to live your dreams. But you'll have an advantage: you'll find you'll work harder at making your dreams realities because of your new-found awareness of the preciousness of your days.

Be strong, have confidence. You WILL get through.

BWB.

--------------------
Without a dream, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Keep hold of your dreams.

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iam1
Fanatic

Reged: 06/17/09
Posts: 150
Loc: Georgia
Re: Old questions, but the answers are new to me new
      #270848 - 02/27/13 03:43 PM

It's been nearly 3 weeks since you found out you're HIV+. Have you run out into traffic screaming bloody murder about how the zombies are here and are going to eat everybody? Have you taken up the new sport of au'natural skydiving? (That's without clothes and without the parachute.) Have you become a lab rat for Dr. Frankenstein? He only has a couple of experiments he needs you for. If you haven't done any of the above then sit down, breath, and come to terms that you're going to have to finish school, because you've got to get a decent job to support yourself. You're going to live a long and hopefully full life

Your major problem is that you believe with society has told us - that if you get HIV you're going to die instantly. Surprise! It's been weeks, and you haven't demolecularized into a puddle of pond scum.

By now you've seen your case manager for the first time of many. This person can be one of your best friends for years. They have experience helping people deal with having HIV.

It is NOT an inexpensive disease to treat. Noone I know pays for their meds. Everyone gets some type of assistance paying for meds either from insurance (private, Medicaid, Medicare) or a govenment program. The same people (everyone) also gets some type of help paying for their doctor visits. Chances are very good that you're in the very early stages of this disease and won't have to start meds for years.

As for being too sick to continue school - sorry. You'll have to come up with another excuse to get out of that history exam. Now that you know and (hopefully!) are starting treatment you may never be too sick to do anything. I regularly see many people with HIV. The only ones who are sick are those who don't do what their doctors tell them to do. Your case worker/doctor/nurse doesn't get paid for each word they speak to you. Listen to what they're telling you. Do what they tell you to do.

As for telling your family - do or don't. There is nothing that says ANYONE who is a casual contact has to know. You probably don't want them knowing until you get it adjusted in your own head. Next week, next month, next decade you may decide you want them to know. You may start with 1 person. You may have a party and drop balloons with the message printed on them. How and why you tell someone is your own decision. I would say to get yourself at least slightly educated before telling anyone anything. This way you'll be able to answer their most basic questions. You may consider having someone more knowledgable with you when you speak to your family. Some people take the person they want to tell to a counselor's office and lets that person tell their family/friend. Right now you need support not judgemental people to tell you that you've sinned and you're going to hell for eternity. Keep in mind that when you do decide to tell someone you can ask, but they are under no obligation to keep your information private. And, we all know how well every family keeps secrets within itself.

You've come here to thebody. Stick around for a while and see what you can learn. You'll find that the more educated you become the less fear you will have.

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