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HIV Drug ResistanceHIV Drug Resistance
           
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Regaining sensitivity
Jun 6, 2001

I know that you do not know my case personally but I am hoping that you can generalize. I have had an AIDS diagnosis for around ten years (got diagnosis from Lymphoma, and yes believe it or not I am still alive!). I have basically cycled through all of the meds and currently have a T cell count of 300 and a viral load of 29,000. I am considering going off meds to see if I can regain sensitivity to medications that I am currently resistant to. How long does a person generally have to be off meds to regain sensitivity to medications

Michael?

Response from Dr. Little

The answer is different for different drug resistance mutations. For some of the drugs, 8-12 weeks is probably sufficient. For others, the drug resistance mutations may persist for years. Unfortunately, I think that there is a growing consensus that regaining sensitivity to medications may not be of substantial benefit. That is, the drug resistant variants do not disappear, they simply become less predominant and as such are less readily detected. I believe that the chances are good that even after regaining sensitivity, the same drug resistance mutations that were there originally will re-emerge if the relevant drugs are restarted. It is not clear to me that this strategy offers much promise at present.


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