Judy's T Cell Dilemma

Dear Christine,

I am feeling quite alone and terribly confused. I've been HIV positive for 10 years and in the last year since I went off of HIV meds because of lipodystrophy, my T cells have plummetted to 89. I recently started a new medication (trizivir) that contains AZT, which I swore I would never take. My doctor assures me that AZT is dosed differently these days and that the nausea and fatigue I'm feeling will go away in two or three weeks, but I can't help but feel that I am being poisoned. But I'm scared to go off of the meds because of my T cell count.

I read some of the testimonials at your site of people who are living well without meds, but it sounds like they have high T cells. If I had 700 T cells, I wouldn't be scared of going off meds, but I don't. Do you know of people who are healthy living without meds who have less than 100 T cells? Could you have them respond to this email?

Thank you for any support you could offer me.

Judy N

Dear Judy,

Christine forwarded me your email so I could offer you my support. I have been HIV positive for at least three years and probably as many as five. My CD4 count has never been above 300 and is usually under 200. My last count was 74. My viral load is all over the place. It has been as high as 500,000 and as low as 20,000. My last count dropped from 500,000 to 70,000 over night.

I live a healthy life. I practice and teach yoga and meditation. I eat mostly organic food, take supplements, donít drink, smoke or do drugs. For the longest time I was depressed and scared about my CD4 count. It is especially hard to get such low numbers when you are doing everything ďright.Ē Then all of a sudden something changed for me.

Within two weeks, two friends died from drug cocktail side effects. One had a massive heart attack at age 43; the other died of complications of diabetes caused by the drugs. I looked around at all my friends who take the drugs. None of them are as healthy as me; they get sick all the time and they donít look well. I hardly ever get sick and when I do, I get over it really fast. I have never had an opportunistic infection, and I feel awesome!

There is little doubt that the drugs are poison. I donít know what the future holds for me, but I do know that I am not going to take toxic drugs when I am healthy. They keep telling me that Iím going to get sick, that I should have night sweats and diarrhea by now, and I have none of that. If I start to get sick, then I will re-evaluate my plan, but until then I am going to keep doing what Iím doing, keep reminding myself that a T cell count is just a number and keep living a full and happy life.

I donít know what you should do. Stopping the meds and not living by CD4 counts is a very personal decision. Unfortunately, the system doesnít like to give HIV positive people a choice. But you do have a voice and a choice.

If anything, I recommend you find some form of prayer or meditation to help you quiet your mind so that you can find your own answers within. Your doctors may not trust your ability to determine whatís best for you, but I have no doubt that you have the answers within you.

Donít trust me, or Christine or your doctor. Listen to many people, but then trust your own instincts. You have to live with the consequences of your choices, so make peace with whatever you decide.

If you want to stay on the drugs, but want to use them in a less toxic way, I suggest you read the book ďHealing HIVĒ by Jon Kaiser, MD. He uses many holistic techniques in conjunction with the cocktails and has come up with a number of combinations that seem to be less toxic.

I wish you the best of luck.

Darren Main

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References

to T Cells and Viral Load FAQ's - Perfect Correlation Between T Cells, Viral Load and Health

to Risk Realities