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Treatment or no treatment?
Aug 11, 2011

My partner was recently diagnosed with HIV with count of CD4 as 223 and % as 12. The doctor advised him to start immediately a treatment and the results came out this week. His "good" Cholesterol is low while his "bad" cholesterol is high. BUT He is in great shape, looks and feels healthy with no symptoms of any sickness or infection whatsoever. Healthy diet, regular sleep, gym. He feels no need to take treatment (in all fairness from his point of view) and in fact he even fears that taking a treatment will result into side effects that he will not be able to cope. I know he should take a treatment and I believe that he also does but he has not started. What should I say to him to convince and reassure him?... thanks a lot!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi.

Since your partner was only "recently diagnosed," a period of adjustment to his new reality as a virally enhanced individual is to be expected. His concerns about antiretroviral side effects and toxicities are valid. However, your partner's CD4% of 12% means he has AIDS (as opposed to being just HIV positive) and his immune system is already severely compromised. He is now at significantly increased risk of developing opportunistic infections and malignancies. We have considerable experience regarding the natural history of untreated HIV/AIDS, because for the first decade of the epidemic we did not have effective antiretroviral agents. That your partner needs antiretroviral medication now is absolutely certain. I would suggest you encourage your partner to express his fears and concerns to his HIV specialist. You should also advise your partner to peruse the wealth of information on this site, in the archives, and on the related links. Begin with the Just Diagnosed Resource Center, which can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage. In addition to antiretrovirals, your partner will need prophylaxis against pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), at least until his counts improve.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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