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do I really need meds now?
Dec 22, 2004

I've been HIV+ for 15yrs, without meds. avg. Tcell 400, vl 80. Now my numbers are changing. I did change doctors as well. but my test now show 3 mos ago vl 247, t239 and today vl at 301 and t222, my doctor wants me on meds, I want to try something natural to keep my immune system strong, am I being stupid to think I can maintain a stong immume system with herbs etc. or should I start on some meds ? I just am afraid of all the side effects.

Response from Dr. Young

Thank you for your question.

With a CD4 count repeatedly below 300, if you were my patient, I would strongly recommend starting on antiretroviral therapy. Paradoxically, waiting longer to start may very well increase your risk of having side effects of medications, including lipodystrophy or peripheral neuropathy.

Herbs are not going to significantly help your health-- indeed, many of my patients tried herbs and just about anything else in the early 1990s, only to succumb to AIDS. Please don't think that they'll help you now any more than they helped my patients 10-15 years ago.

Current medications can be well tolerated and easier to take than in previous years. Even should you be the unusual patient who has intolerable side effects on your first regimen, there are sufficient alternative medications so that your doctor can almost certainly find an alternative.

I'd ask our readers to share their experiences with HIV medications(especially those who are tolerating their medications well)-- this is where our reader community can help each other.

I hope this helps. Let us know how things turn out.

Thanks for reading. Have a happy, healthy new year. BY



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