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Viral Meningitis
Jun 28, 2002

odd... no matter how aware i thought was about HIV and AIDS... i never heard about Viral Meningitis being something you can come down with while you seroconvert. i was hospitalized with Viral Meningitis for 10 days and tested for HIV several times but was always negative. then they tested for the virus and found i in fact was seroconverting. on April 23 i tested positive. i am amazed since this has happened, how many people have told me they heard of other people getting meningitis as they seroconverted.

anyway, i started meds the following week on the advice of the doctors. not knowing much about the benfits / complications of the medication i decided to do so. it is now 10 weeks later and my viral load is under 100 and my t-cell 450-600 range. all sounds good, BUT i can't help but wonder if those numbers would have come on their own with my own body taking care of itself and am i putting all these toxins in my body too early and could cause me to build resistance's or complications sooner.

the doctors explained to me they want me to stay on the meds for a year and then take me off and see if my body can manage it on it's own... is that even possible? was there any benifits of catching this virus while i was seroconverting, or did it not really matter?

i am very curious.... thanks for the great INFORMATIVE site....

Response from Dr. Young

A meningitis syndrome is one of the more common ways that acute HIV can present.

There are likely benefits (perhaps ones that you've benefited from) from starting therapy during seroconversion. These include the preservation of HIV-specific immunity. By constrast, one would expect that you'd have a normal CD4 cell count in the months after initial infection; viral loads decrease from very high levels during acute infection to a lower level, but typically not levels below 100 copies.

There are several studies (from Walker's group in Boston and Fauci's group at the NIH) that have revealed tantalizing data about viral load reductions following treatment initiation during acute infection. These are small studies, but very encouraging; indeed, strategies like this are the basis for recommending starting therapy as early as you have. The unknowns at this time are the optimal length and type of therapy.

Hope this is informative for you, stay in touch. -BY



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