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hiv and not on meds
Jul 17, 2008

Hi Graeme,

recently tested hiv positive and not on meds, 1st test cd4 432 and second test viral load 13,000 and cd4 375 %25 and my last test recently viral load 19,000 and cd4 460 and %21.. l know l will be on meds soon, but in the mean time l have been drinking once a week saturday night out clubbing with my friends and they dont know l am hiv, but not trying to pick up and get lucky with the women.. cause of the virus, l have been having at least 15 drinks over 7 hours, how much damage is this really doing ??? does once a week binge drinking lift the viral load much or drop the cd4 count ??? if so would it be better if l drank every second week ??? l dont have hep or liver damege... thanx bob

Response from Dr. Moyle

Hi Bob There is no evidence that alcohol intake affects CD4 and viral load but generally if you are drinking a lot you can become run down and prone to infections which may affect your tests. A binge of 15 drinks over 7 hours once a week is likely to be harmful to your health. At a bare minimum that will be 30 units of alcohol, more than the 21 units maximum recomended for men. Aside from the well know short term side effects of alcohol, longterm excess alcohol intake is associated with certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer, memory loss, brain damage or even dementia, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, liver disease, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, stomach damage, potentially fatal alcohol poisoning You may also notice as time passes:Smaller genitals, Lower sperm count, Loss of body hair,weight gain from alcohol's high calorie content, skin problems. Not great when many of these things ay also overlap with the effects of HIV and its treatment. And of course once you start treatment binge drinking means more missed doses and more risk of not benefiting from the therapy. I suspect your drinking is a sign that you are stressed about the HIV diagnosis. Its worth while booking some counselling sessions at your local HIV services to talk it over and elp come to terms to managing life with HIV. I think it is also worth contacting AA or other local alcohol addiction services to address these problems before you need treatment, you develop alcohol related problems or of course you get in trouble with the law or lose your friends/job etc from alcohol. Kind regards Dr Moyle



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