New DHHS Guidelines
Dec 7, 2004
The U.S. DHHS guidelines for when to initiate HAART have been updated.
Allow me to quote the DHHS before I propose my question:
*(10-29-04) When to start? For asymptomatic treatment-nave patients with CD4+ T cell count >350 cells/mm3, the viral load recommendation to defer or to consider therapy has been increased from 55,000 to 100,000 copies/mL. This is based on more recent data supporting HIV RNA level of >100,000 copies/mL being a stronger predictor for disease progression than >55,000 copies/mL, though even at these CD4 and viral load levels, the risk of disease progression is still relatively low. Most experienced clinicians will defer therapy with quarterly clinical and laboratory evaluation.*
My history is as follows:
Diagnosis (9-7-2004): CD4 164, 15%, VL 32,000
(9-13-04): CD4 460, 17%, VL n/a
(10-7-04): CD4 459, 18%, VL 158,638
I have not been and am not on HAART Therapy. I am asymptomatic.
In direct regard to the DHHS statement above, I have a question regarding this statement...
"though even at these CD4 and viral load levels, the risk of disease progression is still relatively low."
I want my body and mind to "naturally adjust" to both the news of my diagnosis and the amount of preventative shots I have been subjected it to in such a short period of time.
If you notice how my numbers jumped around during this diagnostic phase, you can see why I am wanting to get more results before initiating anything.
In this case, my gut instinct may have been right - to not start Rx therapy just yet.
How far off the path is my VL 158,638 from the "DHHS" revision to VL 100,000 in terms of "slow progression"?
I do not want to be misguided so I would like an opinion on my numbers, the new guidelines and the "slow-progression" theory.
Thank you, Positive Outlook
Response from Dr. Pierone
You really don't have enough of a track record with you labs to know what is happening. The preventive vaccines that you have received can cause the viral load to go up so you need some more readings. I suspect your viral load is going to come down on its own. Even if it stays over 100,000 this is not necessarily a reason to start therapy unless the CD4 count shows a trend for rapid decline. Why not give us an update in a few months so we can get a better sense of the trend. Thanks for posting.
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