I'm new to this forum, but been following it here for quite some time now. I'm 27 years old, was diagnosed in 2014, but probably got infected in summer of 2013. To hear the diagnosis was devastating news to me and to this day I'm not OK with what has happened to me.
First, I'm not a promiscuous guy (not that a person has to be to contract HIV, just a fact about me). In fact, I only had 4 sexual intercourses in my entire life (with 4 different partners). As it turns out, it was the second one that got me infected. I still don't know how that happened, because I've always insisted on using condoms and would NEVER knowingly let anyone go without it when having sex with me (I'm bottom BTW).
It probably happened when that guy somehow pulled the condom off when I wasn't looking, but what can I know now... Only speculations and blurry memories (literally, cause I had my glasses off, haha). For a long time I wasn't suspecting this particular guy. I was like "We used a condom, everything was fine!" But then I began to question it. The most obvious sign it was him, who infected me, was that I got seriously ill 2 weeks after the hookup. Typical signs - oral ulcers, fever, sweating and overwhelming fatigue, all got me lying down in bed for a week. I was never sick like this before, it was very unusual and I couldn't figure out what it was and where I caught it.
I tried to contact this guy after my diagnosis a few times. At first, we exchanged a few messages and he insisted that he's neg. After a while he stopped responding and has even blocked my number. But I still have a plan to contact him, ideally face to face. I need some answers from him, some honest answers. Anyway, that's a different story.
Back to my "profile", if you will. I'm also a VERY health conscious person, into healthy eating, cooking, sports, not smoking and rarely drinking etc. So this news was like a nightmare to me. My first numbers were kind of okay - CD4 680, VL 60 000. I was offered to start meds right away as an option, but I chose not to. To make the story short, I needed more information. So I watched House of Numbers, read tons of forum's posts (on here, but also on the mainstream sites like poz.com, or thebody.com) listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos etc. I think I have a decent understanding of who's saying what in this orthodox vs. dissident debate, if I can simplify it like this.
Since my diagnosis and my first labs, I could just not accept this whole new situation that I got myself in somehow. I don't want to say I became delusional, but I refused to "give in" and going to see my doctor every 3 months to see how my numbers are and when to start taking ARVs. I was like "No, I'm just letting it go for now and if I start to feel unwell, I'll try to do something about it." It's a known fact HIV progresses towards AIDS in 9-10 years on average, so I thought I had time.
I was healthy for more than a year after diagnosis. It has all changed in December 2015. I got bronchitis last Christmas and it lasted for almost 3 weeks. Then I got better, but after a month it came back. I was scared it might be pneumonia, so I got an x-ray and saw my regular doctor. She knows I'm poz, but she didn't refuse to treat me as a neg person. She just advised me to go back to my HIV doctor and I told her I will. I got some "standard" ATBs prescribed (not Bactrim or Septra) by her. It was still bronchitis, btw. Next week I wasn't getting much better, honestly. I told myself it's time to see my HIV doc, to check how I'm doing number-wise. The results were not very uplifting. My CD4s are actually still fine, being at 620. But my viral load has risen significantly - 300 000 copies. I was immediately advised by my doctor to go on meds. I said I'm still not sure and that I will wait a bit and let him know.
Weeks after this visit I still wasn't feeling well. Mainly chest tightness, fatigue and excessive sweating during even less challenging activities. I called my doctor like two weeks ago from my workplace to discuss, what kinds of ARVs he would recommend, if I eventually went on them. He responded, that with my VL as high as it is, he would not recommend 1-pill a day regimen, but 2 to 3 pills a day. I then asked him about monotherapy, Darunavir (yes, I've been reading John's blog and if he would be willing to prescribe me this kind of regimen if I asked for it. He said he sure would, but my health insurance company might decline it cause of my higher viral load. He than mentioned that he has a patient on Darunavir, but solely because of his resistance to any other available treatment.
I also asked him if it's possible for my VL to spontaneously go down, which he said yes to and that he has personally seen it in some patients. My last question was regarding natural supplements that would help me boost my immunity. He recommended zinc. I immediately went and bought a bottle. I think it helped me significantly and I finally felt healthier and energized for about a week.
But I think I got worse again these days. Not dramatically, but I have that tight chest, stuffy throat, full nose, nervousness, I sweat easily and I'm also kind of tired.
The question is, what to do now? Should I try to bring my VL down with some other types of supplements and methods besides zinc? Should I just wait and get my labs done again to see whats going on? Sorry for this post being so long. I'm kind of proud of myself that I finally got to write it. Couldn't find the energy and time to do so in months. It actually took my like two hours to finish this (while watching YouTube videos and eating, of course, haha). Thank you in advance for your responses and for the work you guys do!