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Things that make me worried
Mar 12, 2012

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was diagnozed in January 2012, infected in Q2-Q4 2011. My VN is 147,000 CD4 472, all blood tests are optimal for my age (25). I am MSM, living in the EU with access to free high-level health care. No other co-infections, in good shape, no health problems whatsoever, no drug user but I do smoke. If my next results in April show high VN again, my doctor wants to start the treatment which I think is a good idea.

I would like to ask about two things that make me worried:

1. If my VN after approximately 6 months after infection remains that high, does it mean that I am "fast progressor" or my virus mutation is more aggresive than what is usual?

2. In case I start the treatment and I follow it strictly, what health issues should I be worried about? What are the risks of having treatment failure/multi-resistant mutationof the virus? Can I even consider myself the "lucky guy" from British statistics saying I can easily make it to my 70s?

I just met a very nice HIV- boy who likes me nevertheless my current condition but before I get involved with him, I would like to have these questions at least partially clarified...

Thank you very much for your time

Response from Mr. Vergel

With that viral load, chances are your CD4 cells will decline with time. It is hard to predict how fast that will happen.

Starting treatment now and reaching undetectable viral load can protect your new boyfriend from infection in case of a condom rupture or other potential exposure accidents. If you adhere to your medications as prescribed, there is no reason to think you will develop resistance if your HIV viral load is under 50 before 48 weeks after starting. There is also no reason not to believe you will live a full life.

Side effects of combinations currently used in the developed world are a lot fewer than the old ones we used to use before 2006. These are few of the commonly prescribed combinations with the main side effects:

Sustiva (Stotcrin) plus Truvada (or Epzicom)(Atripla in some countries: vivid dreams and fatigue that tend to get better with time in most people. Small increases in cholesterol. Small decrease in kidney function in some. Those on Epzicom can develop a serious rash, but this can be predicted with a blood test.

Isentress plus Truvada: Low to no side effects.

Kaletra plus Truvada: Increases in cholesterol. Loose stools

Reyataz plus Norvir plus Truvada: Increased cholesterol and possible jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). Loose stools in some.

There are more. This site is the best for describing medications: HIV Drug Information

HIV Drug Chart

Nelson



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