Monday, July 21, 2008

CD4 test

The first test that I undergone was the CD4 test.
How is it used?

The CD4 count tells your doctor how strong your immune system is, how far HIV disease has advanced (the stage of the disease), and helps predict the risk of complications and debilitating infections. The CD4 count is most useful when it is compared with the count obtained from an earlier test.
The CD4 count is used in combination with the viral load test, which measures the level of HIV in the blood, to determine the staging and outlook of the disease.
The CD4 count is also used to identify possible health problems for which you may be at risk and to determine which medications might be helpful.
When is it ordered?

A CD4 count and a viral load test are ordered when a person is first diagnosed with HIV as part of a baseline measurement. Both tests should be repeated about two to eight weeks after starting or changing anti-HIV therapy. If treatment is maintained, a CD4 count should be performed every three to six months thereafter.
So nagpa CD4 test na nga ako sa San Lazaro and actually sa mga cases palang ganito napa pakinabangan natin ang foreign grants. May mga grants pala sa Philippines para mabigyan ng libreng CD4 test ang mga confirmed HIV Positives. Although we are in the middle class I opted to avail that free test because kung magiging paying patient ako it will cost 8,000 pesos CD4 pa lang yon and wala ring difference kung paying ka kasi pareho pa rin naman doctor mo and pareho pa rin ang building na pupuntahan mo. Viral Load is not yet free here in the Philippines CD4 pa lang sana maging free na rin sya.
When I got the the result of my first CD4 test it was 504. This means that I am still ok and sabi ni doc hindi ko pa daw kailangan mag take ng ARV.
What does the test result mean?
Normal CD4 counts in adults range from 500 to 1,500 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
In general, the CD4 count goes down as HIV disease progresses. Any single CD4 count value may differ from the last one even though your health status has not changed. You should not place too much importance on any one result. What is more important than any single value is the pattern of CD4 counts over time.
If your CD4 count declines over several months, your doctor may recommend beginning or changing anti-HIV treatment and/or starting preventive treatment for opportunistic infections like Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). Your CD4 count should increase or stabilize in response to effective combination anti-HIV therapy.
According to public health guidelines, preventive therapy should be started when an HIV-positive person who has no symptoms registers a CD4 count under 200. Some physicians will opt to consider treatment earlier, at 350. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers HIV-infected persons who have CD4 counts below 200 to have AIDS, regardless of whether they are sick or well.
What is ARV medication?

This combination of drugs reduce the number of HIV viruses in the body. By doing this the immune system can be strengthened and restored. Once your CD4 count drops below 200 your doctor will start you on ARV treatment.
So I went on with my life. I work hard with my business, gimick here and there and occassionally thinking about my health. After 8 months my doctor scheduled me again for CD4 test. It was November of 2007 when I undergone my second CD4 test. Because of my busy schedule I wasn't able to visit my doctor. One day she called me and informed me that she needs to talk to me. I know dahil ito sa CD4 ko. I asked her, " Doc ano na ba CD4 ko, mataas pa rin ba? She said: "Let's just talk about it when you get here!" The next day I rushed to the hospital to talked to her.
Doc: Here's the result of your CD4 test.
She showed me the result of my CD4 from 504 it went down to 360. In a matter of 9 months my CD4 decreased by 144. My doctor said that my CD4 is decreasing and she is suggesting for me to take ARV already the soonest possible time. She explained to me that once i get to this regimen it will be forever. My doctor said that in order for me to start my ARV medication I should be confined in the hospital for a minimum of 2 weeks. So that they can monitor the effects or side effects of the meds that will be given to me. I asked my doctor if ever were will I be confined for 2 weeks? She said here in the ward. All the patients here has HIV/ AIDS and undergoing treatment. I don't know how will I feel that time. I checked the room is a ward for heaven sake and if you see some of the patients there, they're like dying. I told my doctor is there any private and airconditioned room I'm willing to pay. She said there is but the risk of your identity getting out is big. I said to my doctor: okay then, if ever I agree to start my ARV it will be on January because I'll be very busy this coming December. She said it's ok, but I should remember the earlier the better. So she scheduled me to be confined in San Lazaro 3 days after New Year. Can you imagine A year after I was diagnosed I have HIV, now there's a new chapter I have to take ARV if not I will die earlier.
After that conversation my doctor asked me to tell my parents that I need someone to accompany me during my 2 weeks confinement in the hospital so that someone will attend to my needs since it's a government hospital almost everything is lacking. I told my parent's about it and we decided to tell my 5th sibling about my condition he cried when he found out about it and eventually accepted it. I told my business associates that I will be on vacation for 2 weeks so that they will not ask any more questions about my whereabouts.
January 3, 2008 came, both my parents and my brother went with me in San Lazaro. When we arrived my doctor facilitated my admission and told me to prepare. She introduced me to my batchmates who will also undergo ARV medication. I was snobish on my first day. I was only talking to my brother. I don't eat the food ration. I always asked my brother to buy our food in the restaurant like pizza hut, greenwich, chowking and others. Eventually 2 weeks is kinda long and I became close with the other patients there btw, most of the patiets there are also gay. Me and my other batchmates who was starting to take ARV are getting closer day by day. I think my brother and my parents already knew about me by this time. We just don't want to talk about it di ba? I finished the 2 weeks without any rashes or side effects in my body.
Next month I'm scheduled again for CD4 test, to find out if the ARV medication that I am taking is effective and working in my immune system. I'm still crossing my fingers and I am hoping that I am getting better. Because I feel better! A lot of people are noticing that I am gaining weight, getting a lighter complexion and looking better. Which I hope is a good sign. I hope next month when I got the result of my 3rd CD4 test I will be happy to announce that it is over 500 again.
Don't worry if there are any updates with regards to my health or to about HIV/ AIDS here in the Philippines I will post here right away. This is my new goal in life to help others with the same disease and to educate other people about the effects of the new ticking time bomb which we calle HIV/ AIDS. The governement just don't have time to look into it because we have alot of problems but I think HIV is getting worst every second and every minute of the day.
If you have any questions about me or about HIV please feel free to email me at I will be happy to answer all your querries. Thanks!


E said... under alot of stress just starting to get my life back on track, may mga withdrawals pako from going cold turkey sa drugs and now the fear of me having hiv is unbearable!

HIVPOS27 said...

Sorry bro, I didn't mean for you to feel that way. I just want to share my stories. I really want to talk to you but I guess we have to wait for the right time. If you need help and advice bro m just here! Just email me! :)

E said...

its orayt..i think its normal for me to freak out...i already emailed you...check your inbox.. email na ginagamit ko

Misterhubs said...

Thanks for creating this blog and providing valuable info and insights regarding HIV. You're helping a lot of people with this.


Conatus said...

Hi hivpos27 and E.
If you need help regarding HIV/AIDS I might be able to help you. My friend works in an NGO for people living with HIV/AIDS. They are a non-profit organization that receives grants from foreign countries. They do give lectures, free tests and free medications. Just email me at rbarbee127@gmail. com if you have questions

Ronnan Tristan said...

Thank you for creating this blog sir!

I have this dilemma way back in college... I was very pakawala back then… Had my turning point when I got erectile dysfunction at a very young age and I suffered from it for almost a year… I also went into depression coz I was afraid I might have STD or worse HIV but everything went well with the entire test… I realized that it was not the kind of life I wanted to live… Thank God for those eye opening events that totally changed my life and my faith as well… It has been 4 years now and I can say that since then 100 percent of my life depends on my spiritual growth… I’m living a very peaceful life right now with a very loving boyfriend for 2 years… Every day I wake up and I never failed to Thank God for a chance to live a good clean life again.

The day I had my dilemma I literally run to the church! I cried, I beg, I surrender… I came to a point that I almost gave up but I didn’t… I tighten my grip in God and I devoted my time in school and in him…I started praying the rosary every night before I go to bed, I learned to put all my trust in him… Before I knew it I realized my dilemma was like 3 to 4 steps away from me and as I go stronger in prayers and in faith and with my determination to live a clean life, bit by bit I felt a healing inside of me and the depression and all those dilemma that I used to have was replaced with pure peace and relief…It made me a different person… A person I thought I could never be… God really works in silent ways and it’s really true…

I don’t wanna be sound preachy but I just want to share this to every body…

I felt for you and thank you for being so brave and for having this blog!!! It will help a lot of individuals out there who didn’t know what they’re getting into…

Salodo ako sayo kabagang!! hehehe

Just hang on! Be strong and draw your strength from the people you love and to GOD… Never stop praying coz I’m confident that he will find ways for you to live a perfect life…



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Anonymous said...

Anyone ba na pede ko maconsult about my health...? Natatakot kc ako. me mga skin allergies ako na tumutubo sa face, neck ko. Date namn wala ito. SSobra kati nya tas yung mga freinds ko tinatakot ako na baka daw aids na to. Natatakot tuloy ako kc exposed ako sa mga sexual acts. Pede nyo po ba akong tulungan. Gusto ko sanang magpa test kaso natatakot ako and di ko alam kung saan. Pede nyo po ba ako matulungan.....message nyo ako sa email ko

Anonymous said...

how are na hivpos27?

Anonymous said...

Conatus I am trying to reach your email but it says, "We cannot find a match for this email address", I would like to know the NGO you were referring too.. thanks..

Anonymous said...

Di na daw free ang cd4 test sa San Lazaro?

Anonymous said...

Hi i hope you can refer me to your friend. My email is thanks.