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Early Diagnosis of Facial Wasting - Treatment

Apr 13, 2013

Hi Dr. I was recently diagnosed as HIV + 5 mnths ago and have only started Atripla for two weeks or so. I am 32 years old and generally very healthy. My T-Cells went from 500 in August to about 334 in December. Not sure about my viral load but it seemed to be "average" for my situation. My specialist was optimisitic regarding my situation and was actually hesitant to put me on any medication due to my immune system still being fairly strong as she put it, but due to research i have done on my own i insisted and just started. She has stated that my HIV infection is very susceptible to all medication and that I "had plenty of options" although Atripla was her primary recommendation. My question is this, since the two weeks i have been taking Atripla people have commented that i look "different" or more "mature". I am pretty much attributing this to facial wasting ( although i cant personally tell the difference at this point in time). Over all my weight is the same as it always has been BUT I did lose about 10lbs when i was first diagnosed but have gained it all back. I personally feel healthy, un-sick and am still able to continue my weightlifting regimen as i have for the past 10 years. My question is this however,will the wasting continue if unchecked at this point or was it merely the initial on set of the HIV virus which caused it ? Should I look into Sculptra / Radiesse now or wait a bit longer ? Also are there places in the Chicago land area which you could recommend for getting treatment about facial wasting ? I have also read that Medicare now covers this true or false? As someone who is a weightlifter will soy/ whey protein be beneficial to gain this loss back or will it simply return on its own once my body gets used to the medication ? Sorry to bombard you with so many questions, but i am VERY new to all of this. THANKS :)

Response from Dr. Pierone

It would be unusual for facial wasting to develop so quickly after starting antiretroviral treatment. However, increased stress and weight loss may produce significant facial thinning in a relatively short period of time.

But whatever the underlying cause, if you have facial thinning that is noticeable to you and others, then treatment with Radiesse or Sculptra would certainly be appropriate.

I hope this information helps and best of luck!

Assistance Programs for Radiesse and Sculptra/HIV
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