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Jul 25, 2008

hello my question is weather or not to start meds. i last tested neg in 2005 now i was diagnose with HIV/AIDS with a CD4 count of 56 and a 6%, viral load is still unknown for 1 more week. should i start meds right away? i was given septra, zithromax, and diflucan. should i start on retroviral meds? or should i wait the three more months and take another CD4 test? please advice

Sincerely scared to death. D

Response from Dr. Young

Yours is a not uncommon fear, but one that we need to address right up front (and we can always use readers' reports of positive experiences).

You should definitely start medications in the very near future. You have a very low CD4 count and very high risk of having an AIDS complication in the near future.

There are a few things to sort out before starting, like knowing your drug resistance pattern, baseline health characteristics (hepatitis, opportunistic infections, mental health, etc); some time should be invested in counseling about adherence.

After that's done (preferable as soon as possible), you really should start on medications. It sounds like your doctors have already started you on appropriate initial preventive medications (Septra, Zithro, Diflucan).

You'll be surprised- medications as usually very well tolerated. They will likely save your life.

Let us know how things go.


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