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Just Started Treatment Question
Jun 3, 2006

Experts:

I am a 21-year-old active male, professional & student. I was diagnosed with HIV on December 2005 (about a month and a half ago). I was diagnosed with viral meningitis. My fever and weakness would not go away, so one of the physicians decided to run an HIV test "just in case." That test came out positive. My physician considers me an "early-detection case." I just received my last laboratory results, which were drawn on 1/26/06. My Viral Load is 156,000; my CD4 Count is 365. My physician recommended treatment. He also recommended me for an FDA-Approved medications "research study." My first thought was: "I want to live, so I must get treated." Therefore, I decided to trust my doctor and start treatment. I just took my first dosage today, which consists of 2 tablets of Lexiva 700 mg, 1 capsule of Norvir 100 mg, & 1 tablet of Epzicom (Abacavir 600mg/Lamiduvine 300mg). They should all be taken once a day. I am very disciplined & analytical. I have been researching a lot tonight. I have found different physician's opinions on "when to start treatment." My diagnosed and treatment have happened so soon and so fast that I am honestly scared and confused... Did I make the right decision? Was my doctor right about starting treatment at this point based on the results above?

I will sincerely appreciate your time.

Thanks in Advance!

Response from Dr. Pierone

The decision that you made is sound based on our current state of knowledge about HIV. There are data suggesting that treatment of HIV very early (prior to serconversion or within weeks of seroconversion) might confer long-term benefit even after stopping therapy. The data for starting treatment within several months of infection are less robust, but this approach may turn out to be a good thing. We simply don't know the best time to start therapy and the best time to interrupt therapy (if ever).

The regimen of Novir, Lexiva, Epzicom would not be my personal favorite based on my clinical practice, but the reason investigational studies are performed is to generate objective information about the performance characteristics of different combinations of medications under varying circumstances. By now you will have been on therapy several months (or changed to something else) and should have a pretty good idea about whether this regimen was right for you.

Thanks for posting and let us know how things are going.



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