When Did You Start HIV Meds? Stories Spanning Several Decades
April 22, 2013
Ed Perlmutter, Boston; Diagnosed in 2006
Those were stressful days for sure -- severe anxiety, depression and physical illness make for bad company. But the nurses and physicians at the infectious disease clinic treated me with respect and exhibited patience and wisdom every step of the way. We had begun to forge a relationship built on truth and trust. I learned that I would be on the Reyataz (atazanavir), Norvir (ritonavir) and either Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) or Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) arm of the study, and in my infinite wisdom I thought it would be a good idea to start treatment during the week I had planned a September vacation at my friend's house in Wellfleet on Cape Cod; quiet times in a peaceful place, no distractions or responsibilities except taking care of myself by commencing my treatment. The clinical team thought my plan acceptable provided I check in with them on a daily basis. Within six hours of taking my first dose, however, I started to feel ill and by the next morning I had broken out with high fever, tremendous chills and extreme nausea.
Comment by: Ruth
Sun., Nov. 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm EST
It's nice to see that everybody looks healthy. My girlfriend died in the early 1990's. I miss her. I often wonder if she took medication seeing that she actually died before her husband who gave it too her. It would be so nice to hug her today as a survivor. You guys look great. I am happy your quality of life improved after being diagnosed. Keep your head up!!
Comment by: Texas Star
Thu., May. 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm EDT
My first dose was October 12, 2011. Atripla, one pill, but taking that step was just a culmination of the "baby" steps that had occurred prior to that date. I was in NYC for work in early Aug, 2011. I woke up in my hotel, felt "funny," but still got up and started my day. I walked only 2 NYC blocks and thought I was going to die. As I was out of town, I went to a "doc in the box" where I was examined, and a chest xray taken. You have "walking pnemonia" the doctor said. Take this antibiotic (Levaquin) & you'll feel better in a few days. I went back to the hotel, unable to eat, short of breath & drenching my sheets with sweat every 3-4 hours. I knew I was in trouble, but instead of going to the ER, I arranged for an earlier flight home. I don't know how I made it all the way from NYC to Austin, but I did - honestly I don't remember the airport, flights, etc, but I made it home. I was convinced that if I just made it back to the security of my home, my bedroom, that all would be well. Isn't that what the doctor told me in NYC? I had taken my Levaquin faithfully everyday, why wasn't I getting better? I returned on a Friday and on Tue my sister came and dragged me out of bed and made me go to the doctor. I barely was able to walk in the doctor's office - I was blue. My oxygen concentration was 44%. I was rushed to the hospital and I don't recall much after that. However there is 1 thing that will forever stick in my mind - "you are HIV +, you have PCP & you have AIDS." That is when my journey began - my journey with this virus and all that comes with it. An emotional and physical rollercoaster. I am proud to say that 19 months after starting Atripla, I am thriving(knock on wood as my grandma used to say). Everyday's an adventure - I am working FT, traveling again for work, have gained a few lbs, but most importantly taking that 1 not so little pill everyday. The first dose was an important milestone, but everyday now is treasured. Thank you Atripla!
Comment by: Tina
Thu., May. 23, 2013 at 4:08 am EDT
I were out on the street for many year I find out that I we're HIV so I try to kill myself with the drugs day, week,month past went god said no more my child so I got myself to a therapy center out of town for 14day and can back home to find myself in hafeway house for people with HIV I stain where for 2 years find me a kid for a year and we're feeling good about and going to meet yes I am a recovery addict I be clear cent 1_16_2000 I just want to put my story out there Because I am a miracle.
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