3 Months Since Learning I am HIV-positive
3 Months… seems like it has been forever. Yes, it was only 3 months ago… a mere 92 days ago that I was given the result — I am HIV-positive.
I found myself this morning realizing more today than yesterday (or even 92 days ago) what it actually feels like to be living with HIV. I’m not one to loath in a pity party or anything like that, but although I am “fine” I guess, parts of living with HIV is setting in– really settling in.
92 days ago my Viral Load (click here to understand more about what VIRAL LOADS mean) was over 5.5 million. Today, my VL has reduced itself (via my immune system) to 1,291. My CD4 count (click here to understand more about what CD4 counts mean) was 672. Today, my CD4 has continued to decline to 552.
I’m a numbers guy– I’m a talent agent. But these numbers are important. They are life and death, really.
Although, I am not on medications yet — by my choice with my doctors recommendation — the constant decline of both my CD4 numbers and my CD4 percentages are leading me to the obvious discussion of treatment.
So what’s the big deal?
Once you start taking HIV medication, you can’t stop. I can’t even “remember” to take a multi-vitamin every day, let alone a pill or collection of pills. And then there are side-effects of all HIV meds: diarrhea, dizziness, headache, joint pain, vomiting, weakness, strange dreams, skin discoloration, darkened skin color on the palms of hands or soles or feet, etc.
But these pills save lives.
Need sympathy? Nope!
Want understanding? Yes — from family and friends, as once I start these meds, I need help remembering to take them, encouragement on the hard days and understanding if I just am too tired or down one day.
3 Months later, I’m still fighting and living– and will continue. But today is a more self-reflective day at what a newly-infected person thinks about and has to decide… I’m going to keep living, as my daddy says.
I’m still Josh. You still be YOU!!!