how fast does therapy work?
Jun 12, 2009
I was recently tested positive for the first time, just got the results of the full evaluation. CD4 was <50, VL >80000, with some NNRTI resistance. Will be starting meds as soon as I can get the scripts filled.
My question is, how quickly can I expect to see response to treatment? I've seen studies or reports mentioning 48 weeks for a baseline, another question here reported significant improvement in ~3 months.
I want to see CD4 >200 and VL <1000 ASAP. Would it be reasonable to hope for that in a matter of months, or would it be unrealistic to think it's possible in less than six to nine months? Or, what is a reasonable expectation for that kind of improvement?
Response from Dr. McGowan
Thanks for your question.
You should see an initial response right away, even in the first week. That initial response will be a drop in the viral load. We usually check after 2 to 4 weeks. The Cd4 count can start to rise also right away..often quickly in the beginning then it levels off and increases more slowly over years. The virus should be completely suppressed (undetectable) by 12 to 16 weeks (takes more time if the level was very high pre-treatment). The CD4 count increase can take longer in people who have had low CD4 counts pre-treatment (like yours), are older (over age 50) or have had opportunistic infections at the time of treatment. The first step is getting the viral load down then your body will heal itself over time.
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