Starting treatment- does going on meds increase t-cells?
Dec 20, 2004
I found out I have HIV on Feb 2004. Since then, other poz individuals (and my MD) informed me that I should not go on meds until I really need to.
My viral load history- 5,500-25,000-13,000-16,000-14,500
My T-cell count history: 500-750-475-500-430
Because of a persistent case of canker sores since June (I'm traking triamcinolone) that tend to flare up when I'm stressed or not getting enough sleep, my MD wants me to go on meds to see if my canker sores will heal.
Also, other individuals (dermatologist and other HIV pos individuals) have recommended going on treatment to "preserve the t-cells I have." Basically, one person argued- why have your body fight HIV alone when your body could use its energy to fight other things (like canker sores and other infections) and increase your t-cell count?
So, I'm perplexed. Does going on meds increase your t-cell count? I thought all it did was lower your viral load.
Response from Dr. Pierone
Yes, antiretroviral therapy does lead to sustained increases in CD4 counts. The average increase is about 100 to 150 cells in the first year and then a more modest increase of about 30 cells per year. Some people with troubling canker sores find that this problem resolves when they go on HIV medications. This is not necessarily a compelling reason to initiate therapy, but is one of the factors to be considered in the decision making process. Good luck to you and let us know how things turn out.
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