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Just starting meds and traveling to Africa
Sep 6, 2004

I finally decided to start taking meds one week ago (VL 120,000; CD4 288). I have the opportunity to travel to Dakar, Senegal for the entire month of October, but I am a little concerned about health risks. If all my vaccinations are current, I take anti-malarials, am consistent with my meds, and am careful about food safety, do I have anything to worry about? Also, how do I adjust the time I take my meds during that month overseas? I am currently taking Combivir (8am and 8pm) and Sustiva (8pm).

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

Sounds like you've got a great travel opportunity. First off, the medication timing shouldn't be too much of an issue. What I recommend to my overseas travelling patients is to simply adjust your watch to the new time zone and take the meds on the new schedule. So, for Combivir, no major issues. As for Sustiva, you'd probably want to avoid taking doses only 8-10 hours apart, so I'd skip the immediate dose (on your arrival)-- with the long half life of efavirenz, a single late dose shouldn't be a problem.

As for your travel health, I'd have you talk to a travel medicine expert for detailed guideance. Since your CD4 count is about 300 and because I'd expect you're counts to increase by the time of your departure, I don't anticipate any undo risks because of HIV. You definitely want to make sure that all of your vaccinations are up to date, though with HIV we don't recommend that you get live virus vaccinations (like yellow fever or measles). Malarial prophylaxis (including insect repellant)and good food and water precautions are also important.

Hope this helps, safe travels. BY



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