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drug resistance- what do i do??
Aug 24, 2004


I'm a 'lil confused...

If you are infected by an individual with a drug-resistant HIV infection- will you also be drug resistant, and how will i know if my meds aren't working, or if they are resistant- sorry- I'm quite confused about this whole drug resistant thing???

I get that if one stops taking their meds- they may develop resistance, but how do you know if you have, and what do you if you do??


Response from Dr. Sherer

HIV is confusing, and challenging. What you should do is talk to your doctor about these questions, and then figure out how to approach them in your case.

If you are infected by a persons with drug resistant HIV, then you may acquire the resistant strain. Recall, however, that each person is infected with a viral 'swarm', and not all virus in the swarm will contain those mutations, nor are viral species in the blood and in genital secretions identical, so its also possible that you would not acquire the resistance mutations.

While stopping meds can lead to resistance, the more common way to develop resistance is to take them incompletely, rather than stopping them altogether, i.e. miss every fourth dose, or miss whole days regularly.

What you can do to find out if you have resistance is to measure your viral load, and, if it is high (>1,000), you can do a resistance test - either a genotype or a phenotype - to determine if you have resistant virus.

So again, its a serious issue, not very conducive to a light discussion in an internet chat room. Sometimes it helps to take a friend who is knowledgeable in HIV to the doctor visit with you, to be sure that you understand what you are being told. In the meantime, the best way to deal with the threat of resistance is to take all of your medications all of the time, as they are prescribed.

when should vl be <50 copies
detectable viral load

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