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How low of VL can I relax with?
Jul 19, 2002

Hi Brian, I just tested positive last September. My initial VL was 780,000 and my t-cells were 280. My doctor recommended therapy immediately and I am now taking Trizivir and Viramune. My VL dropped rapidly to, finally, 38 several months ago and my t-cells went up to 420. This was all great news and we expected my next test to be undetectable. It wasn't. My VL went up to 142 and my Tcells dropped to 400. My doctor said that, although I'm disappointed, this is still good and fluctuation will happen.

Here's my question: several things went on when I got this test that fluctated: I went back to work (after 6 mos. off), I missed several doses of medication (about 6 in a 3 month period). Can I still get to undetectable? and how swift is the virus at working around a medication? I really am scared of going on the third class of meds.

Finally, my doc says not to worry, that there is much hope now. He's an infectious disease specialist with a great rep and I trust him very much. He says, If I stay compliant and take care of myself that I will stay alive. What's your take? I'm still afraid, but living my life and moving forward more than not.

Thanks for your time and I'm sorry this is so long. You guys are great!

Response from Dr. Boyle

Your doctor is right. Viral blips happen all the time and are ot of much significance. You should, however, focus on being more adherent (this may or may not have played a role in your blip). I think resistance is unlikely at this point and that you will probably be <50 on your next assay, but how long you stay that way depends largely on adherence. If you stick with the medications and work hard to stay healthy, you should have a long and good life. Good luck



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