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Drug Resistance Testing
Sep 5, 2002

I was diagnosed on May 7, 2002 with HIV. I know that I was infected in late March or early April 2002.

As of June 28th, 2002, I began a combination of Epivir (3TC), Efavirenz (Sustiva) and Videx (DDI) all taken at night--vl prior to meds was 17,600 and CD4-573.

My question--I never took a drug resistance test, and have been reading now that this test should be given prior to beginning any meds. In your opinion is this true, or can the test still be done with accuracy?

Thanks for your help--the site is very informative.

Response from Dr. Little

It is true, that I believe quite firmly that drug resistance testing should be performed in all newly HIV infected people prior or simultaneous to starting antiretroviral medications. This test cannot be performed once the viral load drops below about 500 copies. If your viral load is already below this threshold, I would only suggest that you follow your viral load a bit more closely during your first year on treatment. Treated patients with transmitted drug resistance appear to have a slower treatment response and a higher risk of virologic failure than newly infected people who are not infected with drug resistant virus.

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