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starting treatment
Apr 30, 2010

why wouldn't you want to begin a patient's treatment as soon as he/she is found to be HIV+?

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your post.

If the CD4 count is 500 or less, current guidelines do support immediate treatment if the person is ready and willing.

The main arguments against immediate treatment with higher CD4 counts are that it is commitment to life-long treatment, if a person gets tired of taking the meds it could lead to drug resistance and loss of treatment options later on when you may really need treatment, long-term side effects and cost can make it hard to stay on treatment, and studies have not been done in people with very high CD4 counts to prove that they would benefit from treatment.

That being said, many of us (myself included) do believe that HIV growth is a bad thing and that, over time, it will damage the organs of the body even if the CD4 count never gets very low. Many of the newer treatmenst have fewer side effects and are easier to take. The bottom line is that a person has to be willing to commit to treatment and be adherent for earlier treatment to be the most effective.

Best, Joe



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