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MAC survival rates
Feb 24, 2001

My partner was diagnosed with AIDS in November of 2000. He had symptoms for almost 2 years, but only sought treatment last November. He was diagnosed with PCP and started on Sustiva, Combivir, and Bactrim for the PCP. He improved but was hospitalized in December for the PCP and switched to Nelfinavir (the side effects from the Sustiva were too much). Since being discharged he has also been diagnosed with MAC. His drug regiment since January 2001 has included: Nelfinavir, Combivir, Bactrim (every other day), Biaxin, Rifabutin, Myambutol, and Elavil for neuropathy. Other than a few set backs (herpes and shingles occurances), he has continued to improve each week. He is off of the oxygen and his lungs have cleared substantially. He is up to 155lbs from 129 in December. He is also receiving Neupogen and Epogen injections twice a week. His doctor has informed me that most people die from the MAC and I am wondering what his chances are and what the latest statistics are for the 3 drug "cocktail" he's taking for the MAC. I want to be postive but also realistic on planning for the future. Any info is greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

I can't give you a precise figure for survival with MAC in the current era of potent combination therapy, but if your partner's viral load and T cells respond to treatment the way his PCP and weight have, then his immune system will be much more capable of containing the MAC infection. Some people are able to discontinue their chronic MAC medicines once their T cells have increased above 100-150 for at least 3-6 months. I'd be hoppeful and supportive in any way possible with your partner's adherence to his medications.

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