It has been seventy nine days since my diagnosis and my decision to start medication early has now become reality. My appointment with Dr Radcliffe at the Queen Elizabeth hospital this morning was a lot easier than I ever expected, I was convinced in my mind I would be desperately discouraged from starting medication so early, The phrases ‘But you don’t need them yet’, ‘You’re only Eighteen’ and ‘You can never stop taking them once you start’ are just some of the discouraging lectures I had expected to hear from my HIV doctor when I told him. I guess it is now fair to say, I was wrong. The doctor was extremely understanding, and when he realized I knew a lot about Anti-retroviral therapy he said I could start today with no hesitation what-so-ever.
So after a consultation with the pharmacist, a quick catch up with Tom (UKPositiveLad) at the Clinic and an amazing haircut from my former workplace, I am now sitting at home waiting until I go to sleep, wondering what to expect. The side effects are usually the worst during the first few days/nights of therapy, usually lessening to a tolerable or non-existent state over a week or two in most people. Vivid dreams and dizziness are the most common, Insomnia and nausea and also regularly mentioned. The tablet I am taking for the first time tonight is called ATRIPLA. A one-a-day combination tablet, The Three components of ATRIPLA were once prescribed and taken as separate medications at the same time before 2007. The fact these individual medications are now given as one tablet is truly amazing for both treatment and adherence for HIV-1 sufferers.
This is the first Tablet of the rest of my life. Without it I would develop AIDS and not reach 30. No doubt.
So tonight, when I take my Atripla, I am going to be thinking about the 30 million people who have died from AIDS, the amazing research breakthroughs and everyone that HIV has effected in every way shape and form. I am so lucky to have the option to live long with HIV unlike many people before me, I just hope my body allows itself to adjust with ease and give me the chance at a problem-free life on medication. Bottoms up…
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