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Recently Diagnosed with HIV
Jul 21, 2009

I was diagnosed with HIV on 6/3/09 after having flu like symptoms. My doctor said it was conversion, I recently contracted HIV. My CD4 level is 164 and Viral load 808,000 after the first HIV test. I have to retest in 8 weeks. He already has put me on Atripla. I want to know why I have been put on it medicines so soon. Why some people go for years without being diagnosed or on medicines and some have to go on medicines right away. Please explain if someone is HIV positive for years before they know it , do they have less time span than someone who finds out right away and goes on the meds? Thanks, this site has been so helpful to me. I appreciate all of you !

Response from Dr. McGowan

Tahnks for your question.

In your case it was prudent to start meds because your CD4 count was below 200. While it might have rebounded higher once the viral load levels off, getting the level down would help that. There is great controversy about the best time to start treatment in a person with acute infection. the long-term benefits are still not clear. Many providers are moving toward earlier treatments, but the optimal time to start is still not known. The most important factor that is known is to not allow the CD4 count to drop too low (right now about 350 should be the lowest) before starting treatment.

Best,

Joe



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