Lab Work (Sept 07) : Our Cover Story - by Derek Thaczuk

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Back to home » HIV 101 » POZ Focus » Lab Work (Sept 07)

Table of Contents

Blood Matters

El doctor dice

Complete Blood Count

CD4 Cell Count

HIV Viral Load

Drug Resistance Testing

Two Newcomers

The Chem Screen

Our Cover Story

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The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


Our Cover Story

by Derek Thaczuk

Name: Luis Mares, 40

Hometown: Astoria, New York

Profession: Trained as a physician in his native Lima, Peru, now works as an HIV program administrator

His story: Luis tested positive in 2003 after the grief over a lover’s death from AIDS-related causes sent him into a spiral of crystal meth and unprotected sex. His CD4 counts, starting in the low 300s, declined to 198 by early 2004. “I knew I’d have to start meds. I didn’t want to get the side effects, like lipo [the  loss of limb and facial fat or accumulation of belly fat] that I’d seen in so many people.”

Before treatment: Luis distanced himself from the party crowd and took up a simple, healthy routine of “sleeping, working, church and the gym.” He got by with help from friends, a therapist and a few months with his addiction recovery group.
Health risks: Diabetes in his family called for extra attention to the blood-sugar levels that HIV treatment can sometimes nudge upwards. His glucose (and cholesterol) have stayed normal.

After treatment: Luis became undetectable and the side effects that had scared him never materialized. A Hepatitis B diagnosis prompted a switch to HIV drugs that fight HIV and Hep B as well as extra attention to his liver-related lab work. Words of wisdom: Luis now helps other people with HIV realize what he’s learned himself: “HIV is not the end of the world. Not anymore.”

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