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Vaccinations to boost viral suppression
Aug 20, 2011

Hello,

I have been HIV+ for less than 18 mos and started treatment after approx 12 mos. My doctor wants me to participate in a vaccine study that includes a STI. My last VL before starting therapy was around 2500 and my CD4 count was around 400. MY VL is now below 50 and my CD4 about 500. Is it safe for me to participate in a study which includes a STI of 12 weeks? (I am on Atripla and am concerned about drug resistance and after reading your responses to STI's heart, liver, and kidney disease)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi.

It's fine for your physician to discuss currently enrolling clinical trials, but he should not be actively encouraging you to participate, particularly if there is significant risk involved. An STI for 12 weeks may well result in an increase in your HIV plasma viral load and drop in your CD4 count. This may be offset if the "vaccination" or treatment being evaluated in the clinical trial is effective. However, there is certainly no guarantee any experimental treatment will work or help. I would suggest you get more information about the potential risks and benefits before making a decision whether or not to participate. If you are at all leery about any aspect of the clinical trial or just don't feel like taking any degree of risk at the moment, you should decline to participate. Don't feel pressured to participate, okay?

Dr. Bob


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