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New HAART side effects?
Jan 1, 2004

I have taken a variety of different treatments that worked so well, my Doctor decided that with t-cells being over 500, and a viral load of only 27,000, i could go off meds for a while.

Was this a mistake? my latests blood work showed to be the absolute worst I have ever been tested. My CD4 dropped to 315 and my VL is now 170,000.

My new medications arrived last Wednesday, December 10th and I am on my first week and feel terrible. I have never had such bad side effects starting my meds until now. My guess is that because my numbers were so bad, is there a battle going on between the new meds and my virus? If it is, it appears to really have knocked me down to total exhaustion, depression, no appetite, constant dry mouth. I have the feeling that I am recovering from a serious surgury or that my entire body was assaulted. The day before I started these meds, I was feeling absolutly perfect (only taking meds for depression and anxiety).

To wrap my question up in a small one, does my low CD4 and high viral load (worst ever tested on myself) now show the adverse side effects I might have never noticed so prominently before.

Much appreciated,

Response from Dr. Pierone

The side effects of a regimen are not typically related to the viral load or CD4 count. It sounds like this latest regimen isn't right for you (what is it?), certainly if these symptoms have not resolved within 2 or 3 weeks it needs to be changed.

Taking a treatment interruption may be appropriate in people with good numbers. Going off medications does appear to be safe for those that were started with good numbers in the "hit early, hit hard" era (See link). But if the viral load was high prior to therapy the chance of staying off medications for a long time (years) is not very high.

Should i start?

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