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HIV therapy after Hodgkin's disease
Jan 21, 2002

I was diagnosed HIV+ last December. I have been on Kaletra and Sustiva, and my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is about 120. I also had Hodgkin's, with chemotherapy and radiation from January-August. How long does Kaletra and Sustiva remain effective against the HIV? What would indicate (as far as my viral load) that they were failing ? If they failed, are there other, alternative drugs to try? I am 39, and these are the only drugs I have used for HIV.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Sounds like you're quite a trooper having gone through Hodgkin's therapy and now trying to keep your HIV under control. It's very important that you adhere to your HIV regimen since that will help prevent your Hodgkin's from coming back. The regimen you are taking is quite potent. My hope is that it will stay active for a very, very long time. Your doctor will be checking your viral load from time to time. A rising viral load would be the first sign of the regimen losing it's effectiveness. However, even when the viral load rises, you can usually derive some benefit from your drugs (i.e. the regimen often becomes partially ineffective, before it becomes totally ineffective). Since this is your first regimen, there is a high likelihood that you would respond to a second regimen if and when that time should arise. If that (the need to switch drugs) should occur, then your health care provider would probably do a resistance assay to help guide him/her about the next regimen. Good luck. BD

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