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What happens when your CD4 count drops to 0?
Apr 12, 2014

My partner was diagnosed with HIV 2 years ago. He was constantly getting high on meth and would refuse to take his meds. I caught him sneaking off having unprotected sex with others. I finally sent him packing. While we were apart he started taking Stribild. But, the only time he would take it was when he was in and out of jail. We would get back together for a week or 2. Then he would need to go back to having unprotected sex again. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. He quit talking to me for about 3 months. He blamed me for his meth use, stealing and fighting. He was in the hospital in January for about 4 day with PCP Pneumonia. His liver quit working due to the medication he was receiving. About a month ago, we started talking and he was clean of meth. He apologized for blaming me for his problems. Now he back in jail for harassment charges. This older gentleman wanted to be boyfriends and allowed him to stay with him for free. But, he would want sex and companionship in return. When he found out he was with me for two night. He got a no-contact order issued against him. Now my partner is in jail, and found out last week his CD4=2 and Viral Load= over 2 million. I found out that back in January his doctors told him that he only had about 1 month left to live. He started his Stribild again only to discover his body was already resistant to the drugs. Is there any chance for my partner to make it past this? I don't want him to die, he's to young at the age of 22. They are performing a geno test to see what he might be able to take. I don't want to give up hope, because once that's gone you've taken away their existence. Is there anything I can do. We had just had 2 days and then he was thrown in jail. He's been in jail for a month now. He wants to get his life back on track. His eyes are wide open now to the disease that we all are fighting called AIDS/HIV.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thank you for posting.

Sorry to learn of the health difficulties of your partner. It's very clear that with his very low CD4 count and very high HIV viral load that is health risks are very significant. The fact that his virus is resistant to at least some of the medications in Stribild adds additional challenges but is should not be insurmountable.

It is very important at this time that your partner engages in his health and establishes a trusting relationship with his healthcare providers. Moreover, with his very injured immune system it's also critical the best information about what medications to use next and risk of drug resistance. Lastly, it is essential that between the jail and his community-based providers that your partner remains linked to and stays engaged in medication adherence and follow-up plans.

I have seen many patients with extremely low CD4 counts recover their health and immune system function. So this is not a time to give up hope but rather a time to rally all of the best resources and motivation.

Best of health, BY



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