Nov 26, 2005
I SAW MY HIV SPECIALIST TODAY. IT'S BEEN 3 MONTHS SINCE MY LAST VISIT. MY T-CELL COUNT IS NOW AT 227. DOWN 20 FROM THE LAST VISIT OF 247. MY VIRAL LOAD IS DOWN 39,873 FROM 50,000 THE LAST VISIT. MY DR. IS PUTTING ME ON MEDS. I BELIEVE TRENOVIR AND SUSTIVA. I HAVE A NON-RESISTANT STRAIN OF HIV. IS THIS A GOOD REGIMEN TO BEGIN ON? SHOULD I SEEK ANOTHER SPECIALIST FOR A SECOND OPINION? HE SAID SOMETHING THAT STRUCK ME AS STRANGE. HE SAID, SOMETIMES LUPUS OR LYMPHATIC CARCINOMAS CAN MIMICK HIV. BUT, ISN'T THE VIRAL LOAD THE TEST FOR HIV IN THE BLOOD?
Response from Dr. Young
Thanks for your post.
First off, I agree with your HIV specialist that it's time to start medications. You have a CD4 count that is approaching an AIDS-defining level, the change in your viral load is not clinically significant.
I'll assume that you neglected to tell us that your doctor also prescribed 3TC or FTC with tenofovir (Viread) and efavirenz (Sustiva). This combination is a very highly recommended and potent drug regimen that rarely causes dose-limiting side effects (is very well tolerated). The fact that your doctor has run a drug resistance test before selecting the regimen is heartening, since transmitted resistance to drugs like efavirenz is not infrequent.
I don't think that there's any need to shop for a new doctor on this basis of his choices in HIV medications alone, though I can't reconcile his comments about lupus or leukemias. It would be worth clarifying your doctor's comments with him at your next visit.
I hope this helps, BY
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