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Choosing Your MedsChoosing Your Meds
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How are my meds determined?
Aug 16, 2005

I'll be going to see a doctor soon to start looking into starting meds (if the labs indicate the need). I've read on this forum about so many different kinds of meds. How are the meds tailored to an individual? Apparently not everyone is the same and certain drugs work best with certain people. Will the doctor test some out on me? How long will the testing out process take? I am particular mindful of this last question because I have to travel to a third country to see this doctor and get the meds (I live and work overseas; don't want the country I am in to know my positive status.) I have to know how much time to schedule my trip for. Can it all be done in . . . five days? . . a week?

Response from Dr. Wohl

Typically, a clinician will want to know what your T-cell count (also called CD4 cell count) and HIV viral load in the blood are first. How fast these results take to return is very variable. At my hospital in the US the T-cell count is done within 3 days but the viral load takes 1-2 weeks.

If the numbers indicate therapy should be initiated, a regimen based on published data should be started. There are several regimens that are recommended by the World Health Organization and the US Public Health Service that help guide clinicians. The actual choice may depend on availability of the medications, cost, frequency of dosing, side effects, etc.

A follow-up evaluation 2-4 weeks later and a month after that is fairly standard folled by every 3 month check ups to make sure the medications are working and not producing toxicity.

So, your first stay may be a few weeks. Afterward, returning every few months would be ideal.


infected fluids
changing medication

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