Mar 15, 2009
Putting the government guidelines and $$ aside, if you were infected with HIV would you start meds now, or wait until your cd4 count was closer to 350?
Response from Dr. McGowan
Thanks for your question.
This is a very challenging question. I would balance the risk of having HIV growth and its effects on the immune system (that is, immune activation) with my current symptoms (if any) and the risk of side effects from the medication. It is a big commitment to take medications every day for many years (even decades hopefully). I would weigh the options carefully. I hope that more people with high CD4 cells are diagnosed earlier to be in a position to have to make this decision along with their care providers. While data are coming in supporting earlier treatment it remains a very personal decision. I won't say what I would do, not as a cop-out but because it would be irrelevant to another persons experience. There is a clinical trial called the START trial that will hopefully answer this question for everone with CD4 counts over 350.
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