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Not on Meds -Dramatic drop in CD4 count (355 to 174) but low vl (drop of 12k to 5k)
Jun 12, 2011

I just was at our clinic last week. I've been struggling with a crack addicition for about 3 years. Diagnosed with HIV 4 years ago. Initially, cd4 count in the 500's. It slowly declined to 355 six months. Ago, I just got results again and now it's 174. Viral load has always remained low - I believe the highest was around 20,000, but now it's only 5000.

They wanted me to come back in 2 weeks before starting meds, but I'm thinking I should start immediately. They gave me sulfatrim to take until I'm on meds and cd4 count rises.

I'm now fully in recovery and have finally gotten off crack. Truly, the miracle happened and the obsession has lifted. I was 2 weeks clean when I saw the doctor. I think they're waiting a further two weeks to ensure I am off. But I know I won't go back.

I'm also under extreme stress and anxiety and have been for 3 weeks (severe). I also started working out and exercising hard.

3 questions.

1. should I back off on the exercise?

2. Could there be another significant contributing factor to my low cd4 count, in light of my viral load?

3. In your opinion, should I go back and ask to be put on meds now?

4. How dangerous is smoking and drinking right now?

Response from Mr. Vergel

1. Exercise will be a life saving therapy for you now while you try to stay sorber and manage stress, so do not stop it.

2. There are many factors that influence a decline in CD4 cells. Exposure to other pathogens, immune activation, stress, lack of proper sleep and nutrition, using drugs that keep you up and decrease your appetite, increased HIV viral replication, etc

3. They have not put you on meds because they are probably waiting for your genotype test to ensure that you do not have transmitted resistance at baseline. Go to the doctor's appointment as they told you.

4. Drinking will probably lead you to drug use now. You should go to AA meetings, get counseling and probably some treatment to help you go trough your clean and sober period and to ensure that you stick to your desire not to use drugs again. Smoking will affect your health and become highly addicted as you seek other things that replace crack. Here is a listing of AA meetings: AA meetings around the country

Ask people in your clinic to refer you to a drug rehab program. They are several around the country for people with or without insurance.

Good luck and let us know how your journey goes.

Nelson



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