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should an old person start medication sooner

Jul 1, 2008

I am 70 years old recently pos after being negative 3 months ago. Should old people start medication sooner than is recommended for younger persons?

Response from Dr. Moyle

The thing about being older is that aging has an effect on the quality of your immune system, rate of immune recovery and possibly the pharmacology of some drugs. One thing we know about older patients is that they tend to be better tablet takers, a key driver of success with treatment.

As the CD4 recovers more slowly in older (>40 years) people due to the involution (retirement) of the T-cell producing thymus gland it makes sense to start HIV treatment when your CD4 cell count is a bit higher, say more around 350-400 if possible. You can expect the numbers to rise more slowly than you might read is normal. However, the speed at which the virus gets under control (typically 4-6 months into treatment to be undetectable) should be the same.

Your doctor will warn you about potential side effects of medicines and watch out or them. You will need to tell your HIV doctor if you have any other health problems, allergies etc and what other medicines you are taking. All your doctors should know about your HIV and communicate regularly.

Best of Luck

Dr Moyle

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