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Reged: 04/10/13
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Re: What Were Your Experiences Starting Treatment?
      04/10/13 11:33 PM

Monday August 23rd 2004
My second appointment at the HIV Clinic.
The team of Doctors working on my case had decided that Kaletra and Combivir would be my best bet for recovery. My immune system was all but destroyed, and immediate action was required they said.
Okay so now we are up to four medications and the list of side effects seemed intolerable. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, high cholesterol, muscle aches and pains. Increased blood sugar and lipids. Not to mention, tremors, heartburn, and an increased risk of death by stroke or heart attack. Sounded like hell, or even death by ingestion to me. Damn I thought, this is not going to be easy.
He then went onto prescribe an assortment of additional drugs to help combat all of the aforementioned side effects. I now had a new perspective on just what an HIV cocktail looked like. Good God, I thought that is a lot of pills to take and someone, is going to notice and find out.

I stop at the pharmacy on my way back to the apartment and drop off my prescriptions. Give us about an hour they said. An hour later I return, I get the customary consultation, and I leave with a small grocery bag filled with medication bottles.
I get back to the apartment and place all of the medicine on the kitchen table.
Two medicines to combat HIV and eleven to combat the side effects of those two medications.
The pharmacist had given me a weekly pill container, as statistics showed using one, helped individuals adhere to their regimen.
Kaletra- A bright orange in gelatin, must be refrigerated at all times. Take two capsules three times daily. Okay we are up to six pills a day already, and I have twelve more bottles to open. I laugh to myself as I think, I may as well just move into the pharmacy, it might be easier!
Combivir- AN offspring of AZT, the first federally approved drug to combat HIV, Take one tablet twice daily. Okay I count out fourteen more pills for the week.
Loperamide, sulfameth, Lipitor, Zoloft etc. By the time I was done putting all the pills in the container, I had a bright rainbow of pills lined up.
Sweet, now to actually take them.
Are you ready for this? I ask myself.
I choose the Kaletra, I put the first one in my mouth, take a sip of milk and swallow. I do this fourteen more times until my A.M. dose of medication is complete. I would repeat this twice more at noon and an additional eleven times at night, until all twenty seven pills of my daily regimen were ingested. Then I would sleep, wake up and do it all over again. Talk about time consuming. No wonder my Doctor warned me that adherence was key, and that many people fail because of an inability to stick to their daily regimens. I was determined not to fail.
I gradually worked up to two pills at a time, and by the time three months had passed, I could put all fourteen pills in my mouth at one time, and swallow them with nothing more than saliva. I do not recommend this, as more than once a pill would get caught, and I would need to swallow repeatedly to get it to move. Trust me, having a big old pill caught in your throat, is none too pleasant an experience.
I had just began HAART, in the hope that within six months my viral load would be undetectable. My doctor had given me that time frame, with the caveat, if ever.


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* What Were Your Experiences Starting Treatment? bartlebyAdministrator 07/07/11 10:19 PM
. * Re: What Were Your Experiences Starting Treatment? POZitivepower   04/10/13 11:33 PM
. * Re: What Were Your Experiences Starting Treatment? MacResearch   08/08/11 05:04 PM

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