Email 473: HIV Questions!

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 8:53 AM
Hey,

Thank you for the blog.

Please forgive me for my questions I might be asking too much.

I got my test last week through makati med and unfortunately this time the results took longer. They did not tell me that its for the confirmation test or western blot but I am taking it as it is. So I am just waiting for them to call me to officially pronounce me as the walking dead. 😄 sorry too much TV. I am not depressed but no matter how much I condition myself I still fear why is coming.


I have no plans to tell anyone yet as I am still in the process of acceptance.

I guess my main concern are the following.

1. How much is it to get a doctor.. I've read of Dr. gler and I'm planning to get her.
2. Once diagnosed will I need to get the cd4 count and viral load immediately?
3. Can I ask my doctor to take ARV's even if my cd4 is high?
4. Can I be taken cared of in Makati Med without going to a government facility?
5. Will my employer ever know?
6. Can I still travel abroad?

Again thank you so much. There are a lot of things I want to ask but I don’t want to stress you. Your answer would help me so much.

Twd

POZZIEPINOY’S RESPONSE

Hi Twd.

Thank you for your email.

I am glad that you already took the HIV test. I am proud of you as you are now on your way to good health. Acceptance takes time, but the key to it is taking one day at a time. For now, empower yourself with the words of wisdom, with the information that you read from the blog. Educating yourself will lessen down the fears and anxiety that everyone experience during the initial part of one's HIV journey. 

Now let me answer your questions in the order that you asked them.

1. In government hubs, all HIV doctors provide free consultation. If you plan to get a private HIV doctor, the professional fee ranges from P500-P1,000 per consultation here in the Philippines. 

I met Dr. Gler, this week in one of the DOH-RITM meetings and she is indeed a sweet, person like how she was described to me by one of my managers in The Red Ribbon.

2. Once diagnosed and during the course of treatment  you will be needing both the CD4 and viral load tests. 

The CD4 is required by all HIV/AIDS Treatment hubs here in the country to determine not only the level of your immune system but also to determine if you need to start with the ARV's or the HIV medications. A CD4 level of 350 and below means one needs to start with ARV treatment.

The Viral Load test is optional. This is the test to determine the amount of HIV in your body. You can either have it done or later on during the course of the treatment. What's important for HIV doctors, which is the goal of HIV treatment, is that after 1 year of taking ARV's, once the test has been prescribed, the number of copies of HIV in your blood should be reaching undetectable levels. Like what I said, you can include the VL test as part of your baseline tests, however the initial VL is not covered by PhilHealth, thus, one will have to pay around P6,000-P15,000 depending on which hospital you take it from.

3. If your CD4 is above 350, the HIV doctors don't recommend for you to start with the HIV medications yet. That is still part of the ARV Guidelines being implemented by the HIV/AIDS Treatment Hubs under the DOH. As we speak, the ARV Guidelines are being reviewed and recommendations for changes are being made by HIV agencies to be submitted to the DOH.

4. Makati Medical Center is a private HIV/AIDS Treatment Hub. They function the same way as the government HIV/AIDS Treatment Hubs. They have great doctors there and HIV facilities, so I honestly believe that you will be in good hands there. You can see Dr. Gler, and tell her that I referred you.

5. Your employer won't know unless you disclose to them directly. It is against the law for your employer to require you to disclose it, nor have a mandatory HIV testing for pre or during employment.

6. You can travel abroad! That's the good news about it. However, when working abroad, there are countries that don't allow foreign nationals with HIV to work in their country. I know it is disappointing, but for know let's hope that this policy change soon.

I hope I was able to answer your concerns. Feel free to email me again if you have other questions.


Stay healthy,
Pozziepinoy






"WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
NO PLHIV is alone with his or her struggle with HIV!"

-Pozziepinoy-



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