HIV for 5 yrs
Oct 15, 2015
I have been positive for 5 yrs now with a current CD4 of 422 and viral load around 49,000. Doctor recommends I start meds, Stribild. I am very nervous of the side affects, mainly lactic acidosis. I also know once I start them they are for life. My question is, with my levels holding pretty much steady, with an actual climb in my CD4 and decrease in viral load since last check, should I go he ahead and start the meds? I also hear that hiv can do damage to other organs, thus prompting the recommendation of starting meds early on now rather than later.
Response from Dr. Young
Hello and thanks for posting.
I agree with your doctor that you should start on treatment and Stribild is one of 5 recommended highly by current US treatment guidelines.
Lactic acidosis is extremely rare these days (I haven't seen a case for 15 years); I'd not worry about that side effect at all. There are recommended monitoring labs for all sorts of things, including lipids, liver and kidney function, bone health and the like.
Overall, I'd be comfortable knowing the many millions of people successfully take HIV medications. The meds work, prevent cancer, serious infections, AIDS and death. The meds also work to effectively eliminate transmission of the virus to others. According to HIVpolicywatch.org, here in the US and in 9 other countries and in global guidelines from the World Health Organization, medications are recommended for all people living with HIV, at any CD4 count.
Hope that helps, BY
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