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what meds are you on and which do you try to avoid and why??
May 18, 2003

Hi Nelson, Thanks for your input to this site. I was wondering what current meds you are on and which you try to avoid if you can and why? Any input you give is beneficial to all. Stay well, stay strong!

Mr. Benedict

Response from Mr. Vergel

Good question. I may be critized for this answer, but I am here to present my biased experience and knowledge as a treatment advocate and long term survivor.

I am taking a MEGA HAART regimen (Kaletra+Invirase+Viread+Epivir) since I am of of those "treatment failure" patients. I have been positive for 20 years and the early days of mono and dual therapy did a toll on my genotype test results. I am "hanging in there" at 280 T cells and VL of 12,000. At this point, I am concentrating more on bringing my virus' replicating capacity to a minimum and stabilizing my T cells. I avoid Zerit and Hivid since I have seen enough studies that show higher incidence of mitochondrial toxicity and lipoatrophy. I wish there was a way to prevent these problems since those two drugs could really help me out right now, but I have chosen to leave them for later, if ever. I took Zerit for a few years but stopped when I saw the first report of side effects in 1998. I also avoid Sustiva because it made me severely depressed (even with anti-depressants) for a few months. Sustiva is a great drug that can help many but can affect some people's quality of life. I also avoid Crixivan because of what I have seen as higher lipodystrophy problems, hair loss, dry skin, and ingrown toe nails. I am so glad that we have enough drugs today to say this!

Keep in mind that everyone is different and side effects vary greatly. I have seen people take some of these drugs and be fine for years. Talk to your doctor before you make any decisions. Having an undetectable viral load is a very wonderful thing. But having a great quality of life is as important.

nelson



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