Starting Meds Before Current Reccomendations
Jul 1, 2007
Hello, I was diagnosed as HIV+ in February, 2006. I had the viral syndrome symptoms and luckily my doctors office was smart enough to test my viral load as well as a regular HIV test in the office - that test came back negative. I have been seeing the doctor regularly and my CD4 count has ranged from 350-500, the latest test was 411. Viral load has stayed around 50,000 but this past month went up to 70,000 with a percentage of 21%. My doctor (who is an HIV specialist in Washington, DC) reccomends I start taking meds. He says that he believes that upcoming research is going to reccomend treating the disease earlier than we do now. He said that HIV is the only disease we wait until it ravages our body before we start treating it and the medicine today is so tolerable, we should start treating ealier. I just wanted to get your thoughts on this. Thank you.
Response from Dr. Pierone
Let me refer you to this recent post regarding a question which was similar to yours.
My opinion is that future studies will probably show that earlier treatment is better than waiting. A large NIH-sponsored trial called START will be commencing in the not to distant future in an attempt to answer this crucial question. Our research team hopes to participate in this study so that we have better evidence to inform our patients in the future.
In the meanwhile, it is certainly reasonable to start antiretroviral therapy sooner the guideline suggest, it is also fine to wait. The ultimate decision really should be made on a case-by-case basis taking in consideration individual preferences.
I hope this information helps and the best of luck to you!
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