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not on treatment
Feb 2, 2008

i was diagnosed with hiv in dec 2007,my cd4 count is 469 have been taking garlic suppliments to boost immune system should i continue

Response from Dr. Sherer

If the last time you had your CD4 cell count checked was in December 2007, you are due for a repeat value and another visit with your doctor. Do you have a doctor? And do you have another appointment coming up soon?

Since you were just diagnosed, and your level is quite close to the level at which we recommend the initiation of ART, I would suggest somewhat closer follow up and CD4 and viral load testing, so that you and your doctor can assess the slope of your CD4 cell decline and your viral 'set point'. One third of patients have a somewhat more rapidly progressive course and a steeper decline in CD4 cells, and its useful to monitor your CD4 cell count and viral load a little more closely following your diagnosis to distinguish which category you fit into.

There is no hard evidence that garlic has a significant effect on the immune system of a person with HIV one way or the other. I have no objection to your taking garlic, but only if you are doing all the other things that are KNOWN to be of value to you. Most important among these is to have periodic visits with your doctor, e.g. every 3 months, for repeat blood testing and brief histories and physicals, so that if the moment does arise when ART is indicated, you and your doctor can act promptly.

Also, you can ask him or her about garlic and other altnerative therapies. Just don't let the alternative options obscure your taking every step of known value to your health in partnership with your doctor.


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