|Can I stop taking meds?
Apr 5, 2009
VL undetecable CD4 369
Can I stop taking meds -- Truvada/Kaletra?
Response from Dr. Young
Hello and thanks for your post.
I suppose your question deserves a follow up question-- why?
There are many different reasons to stop medications: can't afford them, don't like them, side effects, risk of disclosure, toxicities, or just plain tired of taking them (just to name a few).
In most cases, I generally don't recommend stopping HIV treatment, but rather to try to address and correct the underlying issue. This is because there is compelling evidence that stopping HIV treatment actually increases the risk of HIV and non-HIV-related medical complications, including things like heart disease and even death (look up the SMART study for more details). This doesn't mean that one can't stop, but the risk/benefit equation about stopping has to include these factors before deciding.
With a CD4 count of only ~370, I certainly wouldn't recommend stopping; your counts will pretty rapidly decline into dangerously low levels. At the very least will soon reach a level (below 350) where we'd recommend resuming treatment.
Hope this helps.
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