I’ve not always been the safest lad on the block. I’ve taken risks here and there, more here than there if I’m honest, but I guess for a while I kind of thought I was invincible, HIV couldn’t possibly happen to me.. Could it?
Well around a month ago it did. I have a lot of positive friends and considered myself to be fairly clued up on the virus, the infection process and which symptoms to look out for. So, when I ran a fever of 40 degrees, every muscle in my body ached beyond belief, I was shivering yet sweating at the same time, my lymph notes were up and I could barely get out of bed, I had a fairly good idea as to what was up with me.
I was diagnosed July 2013, following 12 days of what I’d describe as the worst flu ever. Some of my positive friends hadn’t experienced anything close to what I’d been feeling – I guess they were part of the percentile where by Seroconversion wasn’t too bad for them – I wasn’t so lucky.
I had my bloods done a few days after diagnosis, and I was still feeling pretty rough at this point. Around a week later I started to feel heaps better, I thought thank god, my body’s starting to take control of the virus and I could move on and focus on ensuring I stayed the healthiest I could.
Then, unexpectedly, I developed a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and unfortunately ended up in hospital for four days. During those 4 days, my HIV consultant actually came down from the GUM Clinic within the same hospital to see me, and give me my blood results. CD4 535, Viral Load 6.5 Million! 6.5 Million?! This scared the life out of me! Apparently it was high because the bloods were taken right at the peak of Seroconversion, but it still worried me!
So I was discharged from hospital, went home and was feeling a lot better. I had some antibiotics for the UTI and I was back on track. Unfortunately, two days later I was straight back in hospital… Sweats, Shivers, Dizziness the lot. It seems that the antibiotics I had been put on weren’t strong enough, and they I had some via IV instead.
Two weeks on from that quite scary and stressful week, and I’m fit as a fiddle. I’ve moved to be closer to my friends and am taking good care of my mind and body. I’d say the whole Seroconversion process was pretty rough for me. I’m sure there are worse cases out there than mine, but then on the other hand I’m sure there are lots of better cases too. I’m thankful for the support given to me by my friends during this time and couldn’t have done it without them.
I’m confident that I know now how to stay healthy and strong and look forward to sharing the coming months with you all.
Chris Hatherley (@chris_hatherley on twitter)