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Truvada + Sustiva
Apr 6, 2006


I visited my doctor today 04/06/2006 and requested that I be switched from combivir + sustiva to Truvada + Sustiva. Due to once dailing dosing, lower co-pay and studies that show this to be effective and less likely to cause lipoatrophy. I was shocked when she had no idea what this drug was, couldn't find information about it and told me that it was still being tested. Would I be right to start looking for a different doctor based on this? If this doctor (which is an infectious disease specialist) doesn't even have knowledge of an HIV drug that has been arround for a while now I think I need to question her skill level with managing this disease. I would appreciate your input and thank you for responding.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

I too am a little wary of a US-based HIV doctor who doesn't know about tenofovir/FTC fixed dose combination (Truvada)-- the large clinical study comparing tenofovir/FTC to AZT/3TC (Combivir) has been presented at major international meetings and has just been published in the obscure journal, the New England Journal of Medicine. Both drugs are FDA approved and have been well studied. It is true that there are other ongoing studies of the drug and that her "jury" is still out on the subject. If so, I'd ask her of her opinion why.

I'd also ask about her comfort level and experience with HIV, how many HIV patients does she personally (key word) care for? Does she get regular CME (continuing medical education) in HIV or attend regional,national or international meetings? Is she certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine or a member of the HIVMA? Not all infectious disease-trained doctors have a lot of HIV experince--it's possible that she simply doesn't have a primary area of focus on HIV.

If any of the answers leave you in doubt, I'd look up your local AIDS service organization and ask their advice on who's who in your city.

Good luck, BY

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