First off, thanks to everyone who has contacted me over my “exposure”, I appreciate it all – even if I haven't personally replied to you (you'll find out why I might not have answered you a bit later in this post…)
I went to Occupational Health on Monday, basically to let them know about my exposure, and that I was on PEP. (If you want to learn more about PEP, click Here). The LAS showed how nice they are by lending me a spare ambulance to drive to my appointment – GPS navigation comes in handy when you don't know where you are going… Occupational Health is South of the river at Kings College Hospital – which is a bit of a trek. “Occy Health” took baseline blood samples, so that would know if there was any effect on my liver/kidneys/white cell count, as well as filling in a couple of forms about my exposure. Then they told me that they would get in contact with the “Donor” to see what his virus load and Hepatitis status was.
Until now I always thought of “Donor” as a “nice” word – heart donors and the like – I never really thought it would happen to include this circumstance.
During the consultation they told me that I'd need blood tests every fortnight for the next month or so, and that my first HIV/Hepatitis status check would be in three months, with an additional one in six months. Should they both be negative then I would be in the clear.
They also told me of the side effects of the retrovirals that I am taking – and seemed surprised that all I was experiencing was similar to a mild hangover…
That was yesterday – today was spent vomiting/sleeping to avoid nausea/and experiencing the joys of explosive diarrhoea.
My station officer called up and asked me how I was – when I told him, he basically told me to take it easy and go back to work when I felt better.
However there was some good news when the occupational health nurse contacted me, and told me that the donor's viral load was low, that there were no resistances to the PEP drugs I'm taking and that in 2002 he was free of Hepatitis. So that has eased my mind somewhat.
Some people have commented that I'm taking it rather well, there are a number of reasons for this – not least that the chances of me becoming HIV+ are less than 1 in 5,000. The other thing is that I can't do anything now to change those odds, apart from continue to take the PEP.
The other side effect of the meds I'm taking are that I'm having a certain “vagueness” – my mind isn't operating on all three cylinders, so if this seems disjointed, I've got an excuse…