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What to do when hospitals are not available?
Aug 29, 2000

My brother in Mexico recently found out he has full-blown AIDS. He lives in a small village where adequate medical attention is not available. The only drug he has been given is Retrovir. He still feels weak, tired, and suffers from a loss of appetite and nausea. This brings me to two questions. Is there any way to bring my brother to the United States for Medical treatment (I am not a citizen but a legal resident; he is a Mexican Citizen)?

I drink the Supplemental shake Myoplex. Do you think Myoplex with its 42 grams of Protein, 24 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, and various vitamins would be helpful in providing nutrition and increasing his energy?

Response from Dr. Fisher

Your brother desperately needs a full medical evaluation with treatment. Unfortunately I don't know the legal options you might or might not have. You should immediately talk to a local ASO (AIDS service organization, like AIDS Project LA in Los Angeles for example) for advice. The larger ASO's should have someone available with legal expertise.

All of his symptoms could be related to HIV infection alone and might respond to appropriate antiretroviral therapy. Retrovir (AZT) alone is now known to have limited and short-lived benefit. Even a simple 2-drug regimen like AZT and 3TC would be far better than AZT alone. If he continues the AZT without another drug, then resistance to AZT is very likely to occur. One of the reasons for triple-antiretroviral therapy is to prevent this almost inevitable development of resistance.

The supplement that you describe would certainly be likely to help his nutritional status.

But get him medical evaluation and care ASAP!

Alvan Fisher, M.D.

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