Sep 16, 2005
MY QUESTION IS MY BROTHER HAS HIV OR AIDS IM STILL NOT SURE. I KNOW HE TOLD ME BEFORE HIS TCELLS WERE 180 AND I KNOW ANYTHING OVER 200 IS AIDS. CAN YOU CONFIRM THAT FOR ME BUT MY QUESITON IS HE IS ON SUSTIVA AND COMBIVIR AND NOW HIS PHYSCIAN WANTS TO PUT HIM ON AN ADDITIONAL MEDS BECAUSE HE HAD STOPPED TAKING HIS MEDS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR AND HE SAYS THAT HIS BODY HAS BECOME RESISTANT TO BOTH DRUGS SO THEY WANT TO ADD ANOTHER ONE TO THE LIST. IS THIS GOING TO HELP SINCE THE OTHER TWO DRUGS ARE BECOMING RESISTANT TO HIS BODY. OR WELL HE EVENTUALLY HAVE TO TAKE A WHOLE NEW DRUGS SINCE THE WAY IT SOUNDS HE STOPPED TAKING HIS ORGINAL MEDS AND NOW HIS BODY IS RESISTANT TO THEM. I ASKED MY FATHER BECAUSE HE IS ALWAYS HIV POSITIVE HE SAID HE'S BEEN ON THE SAME MEDS SINCE HE'S BEEN POSITIVE. HE ONLY HAD TO CHANGE ONE BECAUSE THEY DISCONTIUED THE DRUG. YOUR RESPONSE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED
Response from Dr. Sherer
Thank you for these questions. Since both your brother and your father are HIV+, maybe it would be a good idea for you to go to the doctor with them and talk with them to their doctors, if that's all right with them. This might help you get some answers with them.
Anyone with a CD4 cell count BELOW 200 qualifies as having 'AIDS', so your brother does have AIDS.
If people with HIV or AIDS take their medications irregularly, as your brother did, their virus can become resistant to the drugs they are taking. In this case a second regimen needs to be chosen by the doctor and the patient, and better adherence to this regimen needs to be followed. You may be able to help your brother very much by helping him to ALWAYS take him medicine doses at the right time and in the right doses.
It sounds like your father has had a good experience with ART and has been able to stay on only one regimen. That is good news, and the best possible outcome. You can tell your brother that this kind of option is still possible for him with his next regimen, as long as he takes all of his medication doses as they are prescribed.
Finally, it can be pretty stressful to have one family member with HIV...and you have two. Make sure that you take care of yourself while you try to help your brother and your father. You will need someone you can talk to about the whole thing - someone you can trust.
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