Day 16

Well, yesterday I was up at the clinic with moral support from a friend. So first of all a word of thanks to him.

Counts
CD4 = 100
Viral Load= 29k

An explanation of these terms is given below.

CD4 and viral load tests

Together these tests give a good indication of what’s going on with our HIV.

CD4 test

Knowing how many CD4 cells we’ve got in a sample of our blood is a guide to how healthy our immune system is. 

Normal CD4 count

A healthy adult man has a CD4 count of between 400 to 1600 CD4 cells per cubic millimetres of blood.

Damaged immune system

A CD4 count between 200 and 400 indicates that our immune system has been damaged. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re at high risk of getting seriously ill. 

A count of below 200 increases the risk of serious illness.

Viral load

Viral load means the amount of HIV present in our blood. Without treatment, HIV constantly multiplies and the viral load increases. The more HIV we have, the faster our CD4 count falls.  

The test for viral load measures how many particles of HIV are circulating in the liquid part of our blood. The results are given as the number of copies of HIV per millimetre of blood; for example 200 copies/ml. 

A viral load above 100,000 copies/ml is considered high. A viral load below 10,000 copies is low.

© 2008 Terrence Higgins Trust

Food
Every so often throughout each day, another friend asks how the cooking is going. So far I have managed to cook something fresh using the basics bought earlier in the week — pasta, chopped tomatoes, etc. This morning I even had Weetabix for breakfast. Breakfast is a first for me. Usually it has been pretty much a non-event: possibly a mug of coffee. So eating anything has been different this week.

Jelly Bean Test
The Jelly Beans are real now. Well, they always were real Jelly Beans. Now they are have bee replaced by meds. So, the Jelly Bean Test is really no more. However, I will probably keep it around as a section on here as it refers to me making sure I take my meds.

Drugs
Another day for the three times a week Septrin® tablets.

And last night I had my first dose of Kaletra® which has replaced the Jelly beans. This morning with my Weetabix I had my second dose.

From now on there is also a daily tablet of Truvada®. And to counter any potential side effects there are another couple of drugs.

Still not got a little box to keep all these tablets in. But, I suspect I may be able to find one pretty easily. One person has suggested trying to find a pretty silver box instead of the nasty utilitarian plastic ones. But personally, I don’t care. As long as I remember to take the meds on time and keep taking them, it doesn’t matter what they are in.

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