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Going off meds
Sep 15, 2013

I have been off meds for 11 days, & plan on staying off them for as long as I can. My Viral load is undectable & my CD4 is 693. How long before I am full blown again & need to resume Meds again?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

I don't recommend treatment interruptions. In the not-so-distant past, we actually did this, with the hope of reducing medication toxicity and pill fatigue. This was until the results of the SMART study revealed that doing this not only allowed the virus to return and CD4 to drop, but also (compared to staying on meds) was associated with significantly increased risk of death and other serious medical complications.

If you were once "full blown", it's very likely that your hard-earned CD4s will quite rapidly drop back to dangerous levels- perhaps only a few months, maybe less.

I'd ask you what motivates your treatment interruption- it is side effects, cost or just simply burn out? I'd suggest talking to your care providers about your needs and desires. Maybe there's a way to continue on medications while still addressing your needs.

Be well, BY

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