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How Long can you stay undectable
Jan 31, 2006

Hi Dr. Wohl I was dignosed with HIV in Feb 2005. I have been on antiviral drugs for the last year and I am now undectable. I was wondering how long will I have to stay on meds and if i can come off of them how long will I stay undetectable. My last numbers were CD4 377 VL undectable. I have another draw in Feb. My last number came from my draw in Oct due to me having a few shoot I could not do another one. Thanks for asking my questions

Response from Dr. Wohl

If you continue to take your HIV meds faithfully your viral load can stay undetectable for years. On the other hand, if you stop your meds the virus will pop back up within days. I tell my patients that HIV therapy is like stepping down on a snake to keep it from striking you. As long as you have your foot on it, you are fine. Let go and watch out for those fangs! (The analogy works well in North Carolina).

This is not unlike medications for blood pressure. Once you get the pressure to a desired level you do not stop taking the medication or else the pressure would rise again.

For most people, once they start HIV treatment they should plan on staying on therapy indefinitely.

DW



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