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Stopping HIV meds

Jul 22, 2006

I would like to voluntarily stop my HIV medications because I feel that I've had enough of the medication regimine after 13 years. What would be the progression of the disease if I do stop the meds?

Response from Dr. Horwath

First, you should discuss this decision with your HIV specialist and keep him informed about your treatment decisions. I would recommend also seeking some psychiatric or psychological evaluation to try to better understand your reasons for making such a high risk decision. I wouldn't want you to give up on treatment because you are feeling depressed and hopeless and have not been properly evaluated and treated.

There is no way to predict what will happen with you. You might do just fine for quite some time. What usually happens is a gradual rise in the viral load and drop in the T-cell count. Some people develop symptoms like fevers, night sweats, weight loss, diarrhea, or swollen lymph nodes. When the CD4 count falls below 200, the risk of developing serious illness rises markedly. This would include opportunistic infections (eg. PCP, candidiasis), neoplasms (eg. lymphoma) and neurologic illness (eg. HIV-associated dementia).

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