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Question
Posted by: Babes | 2004/11/15

Shingles

I'm hiv+ and have had shingles for the third time now. Why is this happening? It's very painfull and uncomfortable. Does it have to be this often? I take Procidyn and vitamin C & I try to eat as healthy as possible. Kindly advise on how I should treat these painfull blisters on my body. Also is there something to help fade the scares that are left on my body.

Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHIV Peer Forum

You need to go and see your doctor and have your immunestatus cheked. Your CD4 count may be low and you need to go on antiretroviral treatment.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Light | 2004/11/16

It's my pleasure to help you, i phoned Dischem Pharmacy in Bemore Gardens and was told i need a prescription from my Dr, and for 30 tablets it cost R61.00. Please go to any Dischem and explain the situation they are very helpful and keep me updated please.

Reply to Light
Posted by: Babes | 2004/11/15

Thanks for all this information Light. Does anybody know how much this Acyclovir cost. I hope to go and get it today after work because I can't take this pain anymore. At work no one knows my status and I'm scared they will notice because I'm really in pain. I have never checked my CD4 count only because I don't have a Medical Aid yet. All I know is that I've been Positive for about 4 years now. The person whom I know infected me past away early last year. Thank for the info again.

Reply to Babes
Posted by: Light | 2004/11/15

Hi Maakie,

I also had shingles twice in 2001. They looked like a belt around my waist. I went to the Dr and he put me on a drip for about 3 hours, i don't know what meds he used, but i was given Cotrimaxozole.
I searched the internet and thought this will be useful
Acyclovir

(ay sye' kloe veer)

Brand name(s): Zovirax


Contents of this page:
Why is this medication prescribed?
How should this medicine be used?
What special precautions should I follow?
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
What should I do if I forget a dose?
What side effects can this medication cause?
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
In case of emergency/overdose
What other information should I know?


Why is this medication prescribed?
Acyclovir is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lip, and genitals; herpes zoster (shingles); and chickenpox. It does not cure herpes infections but decreases pain and itching and promotes healing.

Topical acyclovir does not prevent the recurrence of sores but may decrease pain and itching if applied when the earliest symptoms first appear. Oral acyclovir decreases the frequency and severity of recurrent sores, but it is used only by people with severe herpes infections because of possible adverse effects.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?
Acyclovir comes as an ointment for use on the skin and as a tablet, capsule, and liquid to take by mouth. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Use this medication as soon as possible after symptoms appear.

Clean and dry the skin area before applying the ointment. Wear protective gloves when applying it to prevent the spread of infection. Rub the ointment in gently. Use enough ointment to cover all sores completely. Do not apply acyclovir ointment to the eyes.

Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.

Continue to take acyclovir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking acyclovir without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking acyclovir,

tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to acyclovir, valacyclovir (Valtrex), or any other drugs.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially probenecid (Benemid), zidovudine (Retrovir, AZT), and vitamins.
tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, problems with your immune system, human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking acyclovir, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Acyclovir may cause an upset stomach. Take acyclovir with food or milk.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you are using tablets, capsules, or liquid, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals.

If you are using ointment, apply it as soon as you remember and apply further doses at your regular interval (e.g., every 3 hours) until you go to bed.

However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose of either the ointment or oral medication to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from acyclovir are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

burning, stinging, itching, or rash when ointment is applied
headache
upset stomach
vomiting
diarrhea or loose stools
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

severe rash
severe itching
fever
confusion
yellowness of the skin or eyes
blood in the urine
stomach pain

Reply to Light
Posted by: Bhabha | 2004/11/15

Maakie that Acyclovir does it takes the blimishes away or just treat the shingles whilst u have them. 'cause when I first have shingles my body was badly damaged cause I took almost a week to go to the doctor so I'm still having the serious scars especially at the back.

Reply to Bhabha
Posted by: Bhabha | 2004/11/15

Yhoooo!!! don't tell me about the shingles. Babes sana, the I also had sshhh three times. The first time it was in june 2002, I was that close to die from them. They started from my back right hand side towards my chest( between my breasts). I could not breath properly 'cause of the severe pain in my chest. In 2003 as well but u know what has helped me is to go to my doc immediately he gave me that injection(I wish I can know what is it called) that easy the pain within seconds as if nothing has happened. This year as well I ahd this horrible painful symptom of HIV+, this time around I had a problem with Med. Aid I could not go to the doc asap. What I did I took my toothpaste & I rub it on the area with the blisters within two days the blisters were gone(The idea just came into my mind no one told me about it even a doctor). The calamine lotion does not help at all.

Anyway stop stressing that much girl because stress is part of life as u long as u still alive u will always have problems that causes stress. U know what I do about life, if I can't afford to do something there and then I live it for the next time. I always tell myself there would be a next time to do it that's why I don/t stress my self with things.

Reply to Bhabha
Posted by: Loulou | 2004/11/15

Babes,

What is your bloodwork stats, Viral load and Cd count?

I got shingles when my CD4 count dropped to below 200.It was on the one side of my head, and very very painful . The doctor prescribed Acyclovir and recommended ordinary calamine lotion to reduce itching and dry the blisters.

The secret is to get treatment for shingles ASAP after noticing the signs of a pending attack. Early treatment reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Reply to Loulou
Posted by: SickOne | 2004/11/15

Shingles are related to decreasing immune system. You need to attend to this before its too late.
1. How is your count (not that it has a lot to do with this)
2.0How much virus is in your cells (viraload)
Shingles are not neccessary peculiar to HIV but they do confirm one thing that’s dangerous to HIV + people that their immune system is weak.

I urge you to please see your Doc if you are unable to answer these two question. If you can then I hope its nothing serious that going to affect your system
Stress is very dangerous – be positive and think happy thoughts …..

Reply to SickOne
Posted by: Maakie | 2004/11/15

It is my pleasure. You can get Acyclovir over the counter no prescription need. But, Cotrimoxazole is antibiotics therefore you gonna need the doctor's prescription. But since your problem is shingles, you can go and right away, I just confirmed with the Cross Road Pharmacist.

Reply to Maakie
Posted by: Babes | 2004/11/15

Thank you for your advise Maakie. Question - do I need a doctors prescription for these treatment? I was under a lot of stress this weekend maybe that is where it allstarted
Thanks again

Reply to Babes
Posted by: Maakie | 2004/11/15

Hi Babes
I am sorry to hear that I understand how you feel because my hubby had them in 2002 and was not recurring and he told me he thinks nothing is as painful as shingles. Being Africans that we are, my hubby just got herbs from traditional healer and we saw the end of it. But I would suggest Acyclovir. I visited TAC website and this is what they recommended. They also recommend Cotrimoxazole for people living with HIV. But I also suggest you speak to your doctor about this and hear what he/she says. Cotrimoxazole can prevent PCP Pneumonia, Toxoplasmosis stroke, illnesses common with HIV. It should also be added to TB treatment.

I wish you well and speedy recover and please make sure you do not stress a lot because shingles appears when your immune system become compromised, so stress and depression are the major causes of shingles. Please don't stress.

GOD BLESS U

Reply to Maakie

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