HIV TREATMENT WITH HISTORY OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Oct 24, 2004
I am an adult gay male with seven months sobriety, recovering from addiction to crystal meth. Througout my six years of active addiction my T cell count was anywhere from 800 to 450. Now with seven months clean which includes eating 3 meals a day along with 8 hrs sleep a night, my T cell count is at 250! My friends and doctor tell me not to worry and my doctor wants me to get use to sobriety before starting me on meds. My viral load is has stayed consistently at 29,000. I guess my fast living has caught up with me because even though I have fewer T-cells, I do not plan to abuse my body the way I have in the past. Do you agree on delay meds for a while?
Response from Dr. Holodniy
I believe it is of paramount importance that you start HIV treatment when you are ready, regardless of CD4 count. One of the biggest problems we face is starting meds in people who will not remain adherent and then develop resistance to HIV medications, compromising future treatment options. If you have truly faced your addiction disorder and will remain committed to sobriety, then yes medication is indicated given your CD4 count and viral load.
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