So today I had my latest hospital appointment since starting my medication back in January and I was told my CD4 shot up (to 456) and my viral load is now officially undetectable. Now I know this is the situation which every person with HIV is aiming to eventually get to, it has taken me four and a half years and I am finally here and it feels pretty awesome.
As most people know, four months ago I met my partner (who is not HIV+) and one of the biggest fears I have always had shadowing me is the fear of passing my HIV onto him. Since day one of our relationship I have been completely open and honest with him surrounding my status and health and he has been nothing but supportive. In fact he has been my rock and my builder of faith in humanity again.
It was actually him who noticed I had not been writing anything lately and pressed me about it. Due to financial reasons I had to stop with the running of my website Positive Wise which I set up earlier this year. I had been feeling a bit crappy surrounding it all with not really notifying anyone and kind of just ‘going dark’ about it.
When I texted him today to tell him my about my hospital results he was over the moon and pressed the idea that I should write about what being undetectable means to me, a very valid point!.
So . . becoming undetectable means two things for me:
- I finally feel that I am in complete control of my status
- I am in the best health I can possibly be for someone who is positive with a partner who is negative.
As for those who have read my previous posts (especially my initial post – my story) will know, when I found out I was HIV positive I felt that I had lost all control and I am someone who likes to be in control of my health and I was thrown into turmoil when I felt this was no longer the case.
For those who may not know, the level of a person’s viral load is what largely impacts their ability to transmit the disease, and mine now being so low that it is immeasurable, it gives me that satisfaction that the chances of me passing on the disease is basically slim to none (unfortunately it’s not impossible).
Some people say that it is the positive person’s responsibility to make sure they don’t infect someone who is negative. In fact, the ownership is on each of the individuals.
Speaking as someone who is positive, it is my responsibility to be compliant with my meds, to make sure I am taking them as I should be, so my levels remain as low as they are now and stay that way. Me being as regimented as I am, this for me thankfully comes naturally.
I really feel as though I have grabbed this disease by the horns and basically told it ‘I OWN you, I am in control’.
Now for someone who is in a serodiscordant relationship (where one of us, in this case me, is HIV+ and the other negative) it is my aim to make sure my status doesn’t define who I am as a person but rather it is part of my ‘baggage’ so to speak, something which can’t be ignored but at the same time doesn’t become the centrefold of my relationship.
Thankfully, my partner (who will remain anonymous in this article) has been extremely understanding, supportive and loving surrounding this. I couldn’t ask for anything more and for that I see him as my personal superhero. He knows he can ask me anything surrounding my status at any time if he feels unsure about anything and it is also my aim that any of his friends or family who discover my status also feel that they can do likewise.
It is not my intention at all to hurt him or pass this onto him; me being undetectable has now put me at ease that I am in the best position for this not to happen. That is not to say that I will now become reckless, in fact it is quite the opposite. I will still do everything in my control to make sure he is not put at risk.
This is something we have spoken about, and I know he has complete trust in me and in himself to make sure this happens.
So, five months into my ART’s, the crazy side effects gone (except the odd night, which in the grand scheme of things, is nothing and completely manageable!) and now with an undetectable viral load, I feel amazing in myself, I have the continuous support network of my friends and family, along with the now amazing support from my partner.
2014, so far you have been good to me, so thank you.
To the most incredible guy on the planet, this one is for you. Thank you for everything – for restoring my faith in humanity again and for quite simply being you.