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Father Diagnosed with Phase 4 HIV
May 3, 2004

My father has just recovered from Double Pneumonia and has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS Phase 4. He is 61 Years old and his 6 week treatment started 2 weeks ago. He is not eating and is very weak. He should be out of hospital this week. What can we expect from the next 4 weeks of his antiretoviral treatment and being in phase 4 what are his chances of full recovery?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question, sorry to hear about your father.

I'm not familiar with the classification system that you've cited-- the typical grading system that I'm used to hearing about is the CDC's 1993 criteria (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00018871.htm). In this system, persons are categorized on the basis of clinical disease (called class A, B or C) and by CD4 count (graded 1,2 or 3).

For purposes of discussion, I will assume that your father has the more advanced category of AIDS (CDC class C3). I would hope that your father will begin to make slow improvements in his energy and appetite over the next several weeks. It sounds like he's been started on antiretroviral therapy; I would hope that he'll be able to tolerate this reasonably well, with few side effects. Should he have side effects, make sure to contact his doctors to get advice on how to minimize these effects. Do doubt, make sure that he misses as few doses as possible, as adherence at this stage is essential. If his appetite is poor, ask about medications that can help increase appetite (we like using Marinol or Megase, for example).

Assuming that things turn around in the next several weeks, and that there aren't any new complications, I'd expect your father to have a very reasonable chance of making a full recovery.

Good luck, keep us posted. BY



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