Jan 7, 2000
I have been visiting the body for over 3 years now. For three years I took drugs and fought fatigue and worked full time. I have tried all the different combos and techniques and drugs you have suggested and others however the fatigue never went away. I finally stopped my drugs, had a viral rebound to 235,000 (been off drugs for 6 months now) and feel vastly better even though I have a sky high vload. I feel that I cannot start taking the drugs again until I become disabled because the drugs are dibilitating. This scares me. Do you think someone like me has a chance for social sequrity disability? Please remember I have run the gammet of trying to resolve the fatigue, you cannot suggest anything I have not tried. Also, do you have other patients like me? How many people are dabilitated by the drugs?
Response from Mr. Molaghan
Hello Thanks for your compelling question. It sounds like youve tried intensely to combat your medication-induced fatigue. Yes, I do work with some patients that are debilitated by the side effects of some antiretroviral treatments, and it is both frustrating for the patient and the medical provider. When a patient has an excellent serological response (good T cell and viral load results) on treatment, but feels terrible all the time,it makes the treatment benefit seem to be shadowed by the side effects. I can understand that you are scared staying off of treatment. And seeing the viral load rebound is worrisome. A drug holiday is an option for some people who really need a break, but waiting until severe immune suppression to resume treatment may not be wise. The immune system then has a difficult time rejuvenating. In terms of disability, things have changed. A diagnosis of AIDS, a high viral load, and low T cells does not guarantee disability benefits. If you have become unable to work due to extreme fatigue, your physician is able to place you on disability based on assessment of functional status. Both private insurance companies and public assistance (SSI) determine disability based on individual assessment of each client. The type of paperwork we must complete asks questions about a patients ability to sit, stand, walk, reach etc. The examiners then evaluate our report as well as objective information from the medical record, so each patient is evaluated individually. You must work closely with your medical provider to determine disability. I hope some of this helps. Good luck.
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