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Hello
May 22, 2014

My cd4% is 18, and i am using efavirenz for the past 2months, i want to ask when is it likely my cd4 gets back to normal? Have not missed my meds but i smoke cigarrette and take alcohol. Does this affect my meds working well ?

Response from Mr. Vergel

CD4 increase slowly but surely during the first 6 months. Most people can gain 100-200 more CD4 cells/mL.

Moderate use of alcohol (up to 39 grams of alcohol per day) was shown to have benefits on the heart. More than that can cause metabolic problems. Alcohol gets quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can raise triglycerides that can eventually contribute to heart disease.

Low/Moderate Alcohol Drinking Trims Heart Disease-Free Death Risk in HIV+ Swiss

A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol (about 0.6 fluid ounces or 1.2 tablespoons). This is the amount of alcohol usually found in:

One 12-ounce beer; One 4- to 5-ounce glass of wine; and One 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor

One 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine (about a half cup) has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor.

A study also showed that alcohol can increase inflammation in the body of HIV+ people, so I would be careful. I would not drink more than two regular bottles of beer or two 30 % full wine glasses per day (and if I did drink it, I would make sure it is with food).

Alcohol Abuse Plus Pro-Inflammatory Molecules Equal Early Death in HIV Patients

Some published data show that alcohol may decrease adherence to HIV medications. So, keep that in mind!

A study found no interactions in blood levels of Sustiva or Norvir with alcohol.

Interactions between alcohol and the antiretroviral medications ritonavir or efavirenz.

So, do not go crazy. Moderate use seems OK but the problem is that many people cannot stop at 2 drinks once they start.

Cigarettes are definitely a big problem in HIV- and HIV+ people. We may have a higher risk of heart disease and lung cancer that worsens dramatically with tobacco. Ask your doctor for medications that may help you quit smoking.

How to Say "I Quit" -- and Mean It

Please take care of yourself and be smart about your choices so that you can live a long life.

Nelson



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