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newly diagnosed
Mar 16, 2000

hi doctor,

i have just been diagnosed with aids. cd4=105 vl= 157k. my doctor says that if i adhere to my treatment(combivir + sustiva) i have a chance to live many years and be alive when there is a cure or a way for easy management of this disease, but my girlfriend has read up on aids and everywhere she read says i have less than five years since i was diagnosed so late. is my doctor giving me false hope?

i don't have any oi's just some mild OHL and gingivitis with swollen glands.

thanks in advance,

worried in s.d.

Response from Dr. Cohen

hey SD (san diego? south dakota? suburban detroit?)

Well - there are people who do write about how it is all falling apart... but what they say is NOT always how it is. While the meds we have now are not perfect - for some, the combination you mention, among other combos, can work wonders. First it is pretty easy to do - one pill in the AM, and four at night. If you can do it - and especially in those first months really dedicate what you can to getting down each dose each day - you have an excellent chance at stopping HIV from growing. Which allows your immune system to recover. And when you can find the combo you feel well on - like this one - most - 90 or more percent - are seeing stable, dramatic improvements. That appear to be going on for years. And so far - it is reasonable to expect decades from these meds, when all goes well.

So why the nay-saying? well, a variety of issues can come up - like drug side effects. like resistance to the meds. like surprises in the 10% who just don't respond for reasons we are still learning about.

But - you have a great chance of doing well - the first combo often has the best chance - and based on the thousands of others who have go on them before you - there are many reasons for optimism...

Hope that helps.


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