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HIV Drug ResistanceHIV Drug Resistance
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Nothing Works??
Sep 20, 2004

I have been on all the medications that are presently available. Nothing has been successful in bringing my viral load down(750,000+) and increasing my CD-4 (less than 20). I am worried that I will get sicker.Do you think that alternative therapies might have any promise for me? If so,what therapies would you suggest I investigate?

Response from Dr. Sherer

My honest answer is no, I don't think that alternative therapies would be able to substitute for the effect you and your doctor have been seeking from antiretroviral therapy.

I am an advocate for some types of 'complementary' therapy, such as massage therapy and acupuncture, as long as they are NOT offered, nor accepted, as a SUBSTITUTE for effective antiretroviral therapy, because I have experience with their benefits in many patients. People often feel better and have an improved quality of life after such complementary therapies.

In your case, I would not turn away from antiretroviral therapy at this point in favor of an unproven 'alternative' therapy, as there are NONE that I know of that have been proved to stop the virus and raise your T cells.

Rather, I would urge you to continue to work with your doctor. Such work might include consulting another HIV specialist for a second informed opinion (unlike this opinion, as I know nothing of the details of your case or your life). Such work might include a novel combination that you have not yet tried, or might lead to an absence or decrease in side effects (if that is one of your difficulties), or an improvement in the resistance profile of your virus (if that is one of the problems you are faced with), or an easier schedule of meds to adhere to (if that is also a problem).

It sounds like you have every reason to be discouraged, but I would advise you not to let that discouragement cloud your better judgement. Seek complementary therapy if you like, but don't abandon this battle at this point. It still holds your best hope of a positive response.

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