Up to Speed
Jan 17, 2000
Dr. Holodniy, I need to ask two questions. The first is about what meds would be the next step, the second, what is a realistic life expectancy. I must have gotten HIV in 1983. I tested pos, in 1995, after some swelling in my joints. My count came up from the 50s to around 120, never back to healthy levels. VL went from real high to less than 50. Started on Norvir, 3TC, and AZT, first 2yrs of treatment, VL spiked to 15000, and my meds got changed to videx, viracept, and zerit. VL returned to less than 50. I've been on these meds for 2yrs, now. Only health issues are being tired too much. Please give me best/worst case life expectancy, I must make informed decisions about the furture.
Response from Dr. Holodniy
I can never give you specific time estimates, because the virus affects everyone differently. Your CD4 count may go up a bit more, but probably never back to a normal range (>500). This reflects the fact that you started treatment relatively late on the spectrum of HIV disease. Getting your CD4 count above 100, takes you out of the extremely immune suppressed, who are at great risk for AIDS associated complications. People in my practice have already lived many years with your kind of numbers. Several are working full time. Since your viral load is < 50, I am not sure we need to discuss the next treatment option just yet.
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