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How long can I wait to start HIV Meds?
Nov 5, 2005

I am a 45 year old male runner in good shape. I tested positive for HIV about 10 months ago. My initial viral load was around 3,000 and T-cell count at around 550. There was not much change on the second test 4 months later. The following test showed that the viral load went up to 19,000 and the t-cell count dropped to 432. I am a recovering addict and have been able to stay clean for long lenghts of time but one month before my last blood test, I had a relapse on speed and did not eat or sleep for nearly four days. I went into detox and have been doing good since but now I have to decide wether to start on meds per my doctors advice. I know the relapse didn't help my cause any but I would like to wait as long as possible before starting meds. If I wait longer, will it cause irreversible damage?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

Most doctors wouldn't recommend starting medications with your current set of labs--indeed, if you were my patient and were not symptomatic, I wouldn't recommend starting until your counts approached 350. --so, waitng longer to start shouldn't be a problem and there's no reason to think that you'll have any irreversible damage until such a time when you and your doctor decide that it's time to start.

Good luck, BY



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