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AIDS when mixed with marijuana

Aug 25, 2004

Hey doc, i was just having a few questions regarding my current state of affairs. I was diagnosed with AIDS last year and have been on the sustiva/combivir regimen. My viral load is below 50 now and my cd4 count went up from 104 to 600 within this time frame. My question is as follows: Does it necessarily hurt to smoke marijuana on occasion or drink alcohol while on meds/having AIDS? I am also curious about another unrelated topic...I have been single for a little while now, and am like any normal human being in that i desire some companionship. I flirt on occasion with girls, but i am not sure i have any confidence in what to do if things go further with a girl. I don't know how to carry myself in situations where things might escalate...can you help me?

Response from Dr. Horwath

The antiretroviral medications put a big burden on the liver to metabolize them. For this reason, it is probably best to avoid alcohol or use it only in very small amounts, since alcohol also creates more work for the liver.

Marijuana can cause apathy or paranoia in some people. These are problems also caused by HIV in some people. You should take this into consideration.

There is no good reason that you cannot have the companionship of a girl. You need to use condoms to prevent infecting your partner if you have sex. And if you want things to "go further" in terms of developing a relationship, it is wise to discuss your HIV status with your partner before it gets too intimate. If you wait too long, it may come as a shock and be interpreted as a cause for mistrust.

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