My HIV Diary: New Drugs for Valentine’s Day, Week 24
Ryan Dixon (a.k.a former porn star Kameron Scott) has started taking HIV medication. He’s keeping a diary of his experience.
Being in my mid-20’s isn’t easy, add HIV on top of that and we have one hell of a complicated life. I’m making the best out of the hand life has dealt me and the decisions I’ve made along the way. Writing helps free my mind. Hopefully these words will help you understand the plight of others like myself, and inspire you to live each and every day in the moment.
Week 24 (Feb. 8 – Feb. 14)
I’ve had my eighth visit to my doctor since starting this medicine study 170 days ago. My viral load is still undetectable and my CD4 count is at 640 and 40%. Amazing numbers! What more could I ask for on Valentine’s Day?
Today was one of the most important days in the study. We reached the Maintenance and Open Label Phase. I’ve stopped taking Truvada and I’ve now been placed on Rilpivirine, known by its brand name Edurant. Edurant, like Truvada, is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. I’ve never explained what the medicine actually does, so here we go.
Reverse transcriptase inhibitors (RTIs) are one of five classes of HIV drugs. RTIs inhibit a viral DNA polymerase, which is the act of synthesizing DNA molecules from their nucleotide building blocks. The reason behind the switch is because Edurant has a longer half-life had has a reduced side-effect profile compared to Truvada — in other words, fewer problems with my stomach and more medicine in my blood longer.
I have to take my new pill with a recommended 500 calorie meal every morning. I didn’t remember that and now I know why. My head hurt really bad this morning, my second morning on the pill. That’s something I soon won’t forget. I’m actually looking forward to being on this medicine because I’ll be forced to look and my food closer and make healthier decisions every morning.
I’ll have to be very strict with my time management with taking in it the coming weeks, just like when I first talked about adhering to ARV schedules. Not only does it help me fight the virus better, but it is crucial for the study side of all of this.
I have to go back in two weeks to make sure my heart and liver are not reacting, but my doctor does that every month. I’m looking forward to having a much calmer stomach, and if I eat like I’m supposed to, I think I’ll be just fine.