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Starting Meds
Oct 2, 2003

I became HIV+ within the last two years. My numbers are CD4/240 VL/100,000+. The doctor has recommended I begin medication (Combivir and Sustiva). I'm starting in two days. I was diagnosed only 4 months ago. My only signs were occasional cold like symptoms. Two questions:

1. Is this a good starting treatment (not too severe/potent)?

2. I am a muscular male. Will I be able to maintain my appearance or am I kidding myself? If so, how many weeks/months before I start seeing changes in my body (other than the possible rash from Sustiva)

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your questions.

Let's see if we can answer your questions.

1-- this is a very potent and very well tolerated drug regimen. Indeed, Combivir/efavirenz is one of the top recommended regimens in the most recent treatment guidelines (see

2.- I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to maintain appearances. Body fat changes are the result of multiple factors- including waiting too long to start therapy. The medications in your current regimen have not been linked to increase risk of lipodystrophy.

The key to this regimen is to do everything possible to maintain adherence -- know that the vast majority of the side effects of the regimen fade after the first week or so.

Good luck and long health. BY

Starting treatment
counts and meds

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