Okay to hold off?
Nov 19, 2006
I am a US citizen marrying a Canadian soon, and we will be living together in Canada immediately. I have a CD4+ of about 290, and viral load near 200,000 at 13%. I know I need to start treatment, but I won't be eligible for health care in Canada for at least several months. We do not have any means of paying for these medications out of pocket. I have never taken any HIV medications before. Is there any resource available in Canada for someone in my situation? If not, or if unsure, is there anything in the US where I could at least get drugs shipped to me there? Most importantly, am I putting myself at a big risk if I don't start treatment for possibly even 10 months from now (hopefully this is the extreme end of the range of time)?
Response from Dr. Young
Thanks for your post.
I agree with you that you'll likely need to start medications in the near future. You could probably wait to start, so long as you don't have any symptoms of HIV. Ideally, you should have laboratory monitoring (even if you don't start) every 3-4 months. Getting medications from the US is a possibility, but you'd have to be under the care of a HIV treater in the US first.
As for getting medications in Canada, it would be worthwhile contacting the AIDS Service Organization (ASO) in the city you live. It's possible that clinical trials might be a way to get access to medications, even if you don't currently qualify for the national healthcare system yet. There are usually clinical trials for persons like you, who are naive to HIV treatments.
Best of luck, BY
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