Should I start treatment
Dec 23, 2006
In Sept. 06 I found out I have HIV. I have had two test done - (1st) 363 cd4 and viral greater than 100,000 (2nd) 452 cd4 and viral greater than 100,000. I am 48. My doctor has recommended Atripla. Should I wait to start? What are the advantages and disadvantages of starting early? Should I consider another medication? I am heavy set about 305 - What impact will the medicine have?
Response from Dr. Pierone
Hello, and thanks for posting.
The advantage of starting early is that unchecked HIV infection is not a good thing and may result in a loss of immune function which may not reconstitute later on when therapy is commenced. There is also a lower risk of transmitting HIV to an intimate partner in the case of a condom failure.
Atripla is a very attractive starting medication since it is one pill, once a day. It has been shown to be very effective and is the standard to beat for any new frontline HIV regimen. Many people experience neuro-cognitive side effects from the Sustiva component dizziness, fuzzy-headed sensations, sleepiness, are examples. These side effects usually go away within weeks to several months. But some people never get over it, or develop a worsening of depression and need to change to something else.
It is highly effective and the expectation would be for your viral load to become undetectable and the CD4+ lymphocyte count to progressively improve.
Best of luck to you and let us know how things go.
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