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Please help
Aug 2, 2004

Hi there I'm 22 and it's be almost 5months since I got HIV+ , my only C4 test so far indicated my T-cells to be like 399 and I was told by my clinic I won't be put on treatmeant until it reaches below 250.(I'm from Trinidad and Tobago) I'm considering maybe starting treatment privately via paying for them or should I wait ? Can you help me with some advice? Also I was doing some herbal researching and found several chinese herbs that are acclaimed to help in HIV cases - if I decdiced to take some of these herbs on a two month trial basis , do I stand a chance at developing an HIV mutation or resistance ? Another thing how long can some one at my age live with HIV/AIDS before being over taken by the virus? THANK YOU

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

First, I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Know, however, that if things go correctly, that you should live to be an old man. This requires careful clinical and laboratory monitoring, and when appropriate, medications to treat your HIV. Most persons can go for years from initial infection to the time that they need to start medications- this statement though, is subject to tremendous individual variations and is largely dependent on how high your viral load is. Persons with high viral loads tend to have more rapid progression and those with lower viral loads progress slowly.

If you only have a single CD4 count of ~400, I would not recommend starting therapy just yet (assuming that you're feeling well-- namely asymptomatic). Most US-based doctors won't recommend starting therapy until CD4 counts are below 350, perhaps even lower in other settings (or countries).

I'd probably wait to start (save the money and effort for now).

As for herbals, I can't make any strong recommendations- few have even had suggestions of efficacy, never mind proof. That said, there's little risk of developing drug resistance; I'd just let your doctor know that what you're currently taking (this includes herbals, alternatives and over the counters-- not just the prescription medications).

Good luck, stay in touch and let us know how you're doing from time to time. Thanks for reading. BY



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