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is it true
Apr 3, 2010

Hello Dr.

Is it true that once the virus is exposed to meds, if you stop taking them or they stop working you will rapidly die.

Thanks

Response from Dr. Young

Not true.

The devil's in the details-- the immediate risks of stopping HIV treatments are that the virus will come back and CD4 counts will fairly rapidly drop to baseline. What you allude to are the data from the SMART study that says that, while the absolute risk is low, stopping treatment is associated with an increase in risk of death from all causes-- that is to say that if everything else is equal, it's better to stay on medications with an undetectable viral load, than to stop and let the virus return.

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