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Sep 3, 2003

I was diagnosed with aids..pcp..what is my prognosis if I take my pills everyday?

Response from Dr. Pierone

Your prognosis is good. PCP or pneumocystis carinii pneumonia typically occurs in people with less than 200 CD4 cells and is an AIDS defining opportunistic infection.

I have patients that had PCP in 1997, got started on highly active antiretroviral therapy (triple drug HIV cocktail), and are now well with CD4 cells that have come back to the normal range (over 500) and have an undetectable viral load. What attributes do these survivors have? They take their medications every day. They also get regular medical care and take reasonable care of themselves (they are not all Saints). Very few of them are on the same regimen now that they were on in 1997. As better medications became available they switched in order to limit side effects and make the regimen easier to take (indinavir (Crixivan) to nevirapine (Viramune) or efavirenz (Sustiva, etc).

I had patients that had PCP in 1997 and are now dead. Most died because they did not take their medications every day. They had many different "coulda, shoulda, woulda" reasons, but what they shared in common was an inability to take their medications. That's all I have to say about that.

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