Mar 16, 2004
If I stopped my meds, how long (days?) would it take for the viral load to "spike"?
Response from Dr. Sherer
While I'm willing to answer, I don't approve of the premise, i.e. I advise against stopping you meds on your own, without a doctor's knowledge and support.
That said, it takes about one week for the virus to appear in the blood, assuming you had achieved a viral load below detection before you stopped.
One reason to be wary of stopping your medications: the three drugs in the regimen have different 'half-lives' in the blood. For example, efavirenz and nevirapine last in the blood for two or more days, while the NRTIs are rapidly excreted within a matter of hours. So when you stop drugs, there is a risk of resistance while the one remaining drug is 'exposed', i.e. without the support of the other drugs. As above, before you stop your drugs, talk to your doctor.
Resistance of outlier strains
both poz, having unprotected sex
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