Tag Archive: arv


Blood Chemistry

It’s been almost a year since my last consultation at H4. When I got back to the Philippines from my vacation, I prioritized my check-up. I went to H4 to have myself scheduled for my second CD4 count. Dra. A scheduled me for February 17 and then gave a prescription to have my blood chemistry tested.

I had my blood extracted this morning in a hospital in QC and I got the result before I went home from work. The results are still normal based on the normal values. But there’s a slight deviation from my baseline. I have yet to get my dad’s opinion on this.

Now Baseline
FBS 4.56 4.78
Urea Nitrogen 14.9 7.8
Creatinine 0.9 0.86
Uric Acid 5.96
Cholesterol 4.51
Triglycerides 0.69
SGOT 31.9 23.6
SGPT 28.6 35.9

I will have to visit H4 on Thursday to get my CD4 count result. I’m hoping that the count won’t be too low. I don’t want to take ARV medication yet.

Here’s a little primer (with links) on what the blood chemistry tests are for:

FBS
A fasting blood sugar (FBS) level is one of the tests used to diagnose diabetes mellitus (another being the oral glucose tolerance test). In a person with symptoms of osmotic diuresis and an elevated fasting blood sugar level, the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is usually made.

According to the 2005 Recommendation of the ADA, you may interpret your fasting blood sugar as follows:
FBS < 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/l) = normal fasting blood sugar;
FBS 100–125 mg/dl (5.6–6.9 mmol/l) = IFG (impaired fasting glucose);
FBS ≥ 126 mg/dl (7.0 mmol/l) = provisional diagnosis of diabetes

Urea Nitrogen
A BUN test is done to see how well your kidneys  are working. If your kidneys are not able to remove urea from the blood normally, your BUN level rises. Heart failure, dehydration, or a diet high in protein can also make your BUN level higher. Liver disease or damage can lower your BUN level. A low BUN level can occur normally in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Creatinine
Creatinine and creatinine clearance tests measure the level of the waste product creatinine in your blood and urine. These tests tell how well your kidneys are working. The substance creatine is formed when food is changed into energy through a process called metabolism. Creatine is broken down into another substance called creatinine, which is taken out of your blood by the kidneys and then passed out of your body in urine. See a picture of the kidneys .
Creatinine is made at a steady rate and is not affected by diet or by normal physical activities. If your kidneys are damaged and cannot work normally, the amount of creatinine in your urine goes down while its level in your blood goes up.

Uric Acid
The blood uric acid test measures the amount of uric acid in a blood sample. Uric acid is produced from the natural breakdown of your body’s cells and from the foods you eat.

Most of the uric acid is filtered out by the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine. A small amount passes out of the body in stool. But if too much uric acid is being produced or if the kidneys are not able to remove it from the blood normally, the level of uric acid in the blood increases.
High levels of uric acid in the blood can cause solid crystals to form within joints. This causes a painful condition called gout. If gout remains untreated, these uric acid crystals can build up in the joints and nearby tissues, forming hard lumpy deposits called tophi. High levels of uric acid may also cause kidney stones or kidney failure.

Cholesterol / Triglycerides
Your blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. A risk factor is a condition that increases your chance of getting a disease. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Each year, more than a million Americans have heart attacks, and about a half million people die from heart disease.

SGOT / SGPT
An initial step in detecting liver damage is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain liver enzymes (proteins) in the blood. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes reside within the cells of the liver. But when the liver is injured for any reason, these enzymes are spilled into the blood stream. Enzymes are proteins that are present throughout the body, each with a unique function. Enzymes help to speed up (catalyze) routine and necessary chemical reactions in the body.

Among the most sensitive and widely used liver enzymes are the aminotransferases. They include aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT). These enzymes are normally contained within liver cells. If the liver is injured or damaged, the liver cells spill these enzymes into the blood, raising the enzyme levels in the blood and signaling the liver disease.

GENEVA, 5 October 2010––UNAIDS welcomes commitments made by donors at the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria’s replenishment conference in New York, which was chaired this year by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The United States of America led the donations—pledging the largest ever financial commitment to the Global Fund, US$ 4 billion over three years––a 38% increase over the preceding three year period. More than 40 countries, including countries with emerging economies, private foundations and corporations committed more than US$ 11.7 billion for the next three years to fund health programmes for the three diseases.

“These pledges come at a critical time. We are just starting to see returns on investments with new infections coming down in most high-burden countries and more people than ever on antiretroviral treatment,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “This is a significant and necessary first milestone, but insufficient to meet aspirations. Public and private donors must continue to mobilize resources in order to secure future progress in the AIDS response.”

Despite the record pledges to the Global Fund there is still an overall funding shortfall for the AIDS response. For the first time in 15 years, overall AIDS funding has flat lined. This raises serious concerns on future progress as a slowing in investments will negatively impact the AIDS response.

It is estimated that nearly 2.8 million people are accessing treatment through financing provided by the Global Fund, more than half of the people on treatment today. However there are nearly 10 million people living with HIV who urgently need treatment. Five people are newly infected with HIV for every two people who start treatment.

Large scale investments in the AIDS response have produced encouraging results. At the MDG summit in New York two weeks ago, UNAIDS revealed new data showing that HIV infections have declined by more than 25% in 22 countries most affected by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa; and with nearly 5.2 million people on antiretroviral therapy, AIDS related deaths have fallen.

Source: http://unaidstoday.org/

Back from a bed rest

I have been out of circulation in the past few weeks. Busy with work, buffing up myself, and with socials that I forgot my limitations and the fact that I’m a pozzie. My body had finally succumbed to my weak immunity. I was down with the flu that started up as a bacterial inflammation of my tonsils. The past four days was an eye-opener for me. Ages ago, a simple tonsilitis won’t even develop into a more serious disease. In fact, bed rest and fluid intake would simply serve as cure. But now, a simple disease leads to further complications with extreme adverse effects. My dad even gave me a much more potent antibiotic as the one I’ve been taking before isn’t doing me any good anymore.

After 3 days of bed rest, I’ll be able to report back to work tomorrow. I have to refrain from straining myself from work and other physical activities until I have fully recovered. This three-day bed rest has been very beneficial to me as I was able to invigorate myself and retreat from the daily routine stressful activities. When I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, Although It seemed that I lost a few pounds, I look well-rested and fresher.

I have to regularly remind myself that I am no longer my old self. I’m getting older and my immunity getting weaker. I don’t want to start taking my ARV medication yet. I have to keep my CD4 high. Thus, I really need to take good care of myself.

Here’s a map on where the H4 pavillion and SACCL are at the San Lazaro compound which I took when I got my CD4 count. I got lost the very first time I went there and I don’t want my fellow pozzies to be in the same situation that I was in — lost at the TB ward. LOL.

I don’t where exactly is Quiricada street. Usually, I park at the DOH compound in front of the NEC building (LRT entrance) and then I just take a short walk to H4 or SACCL.

I have mentioned in my blog entry before that I have told everyone about my status except for this particular ex-partner of mine. Let’s call him BB (that’s how I call him when we were still together.) I have attempted to tell him about it two weeks ago in person over coffee but my schedule didn’t permit us. Last Friday, I chanced upon him online on Facebook and I finally decided that I have to tell him about it. Surprisingly, he took it as if it’s nothing serious. He just assured me that everything will be fine as my CD4 count is still high and he guarantees my confidentiality given that he is a medical practitioner.

Yesterday afternoon, I posted my itinerary on Facebook. He popped me after a few and then asked if he could join me. I told him to meet me at around 9pm after work so we could catch up with each other. When I got off from work, I got to our meeting place ahead of time and he was late as usual. After almost 15 minutes of waiting, I saw someone walking towards me. It’s BB. I hardly noticed that it was him except for his eyes and smile. He looked so different – so thin and worn out. Words failed me. After the usual greeting, we walked towards the car in unusual silence and drove over to a restaurant somewhere in QC.

I wasn’t expecting that our dinner will be full of revelations. The reason why he was also eager to meet me in person is that he was intending to tell me the same thing that I was planning to tell him. He’s also HIV positive. and in his case, he found out about his status when he was hospitalized because of Pneumonia last January for three weeks. Prior to that, he had frequent flu and headache. And as a doctor, he was self-medicating. He took steroids which actually worsened his situation activating the pneumonia, and staphylococcus aureus (brain abscess). The later almost paralyzed him as if he had stroke. Until now, he has difficulty talking. The same condition explain why he walks in an awkward kind of way. His baseline CD4 count – 16. Currently he’s under ARV medication and I’m praying that his condition stabilizes ASAP.

While we were discussing about our past, our disease, and what’s in store for our future, another ex of mine texted. Let’s call him King (his SACCL screen name). I asked him if he would like to meet a friend of mine who’s also a pozzie. And when he agreed, BB and I went to his pad. Two of my most loved ex-partners of my life under one roof. And given that in the past, King despises BB that even in the time when he needed medical attention, he got furious at me for contacting BB. Funny that the three of us share the same fate and all that we could do is to hold on to each other — support each other as fellow pozzies.

King shared his night to us. He had told his father about his status the very same time that BB and I were having dinner. And another surprise. From being a spiritual person, he has finally converted to Christianity. You can read about it on his blog entry. We shared insights about HIV, our plans, how we told our beloved ones, etc. That one hour flew so fast. We had to go home as BB needed to take his medication and I had to sleep early for the next day’s engagements. We bid each other goodbye and then dropped off BB at his house.

Life is full of surprises. and mostly, they come unexpected. I’ll blog about my reflections while I was driving home that night later. This is it for the night. I still can’t move on with last night’s revelations.