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HIV Drug ResistanceHIV Drug Resistance
           
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Scared of Becoming Resistant
Oct 17, 2001

Hi, I have been on Kaletra, Nevirapine, Stavudine and Lamivudine since Feb.2000. I have been udetectable for the last year almost, except for my last test and one other where it went up to 80 and then back down to undetectable levels for months. I heard that people can often become resistant after 18 months or so. Is that true? Can some people stay on the same meds for years if they take them faithfully? I am hoping that my next test will be undetectable again.

Thanks for your time,

Crystal

Response from Dr. Little

Yes, people can stay undetectable and without evidence of drug resistance for years. There is in fact no available data to suggest that a regimen will fail after a certain amount of time. What seems to be the most important is how faithfully you take your medications and how low your viral load remains. There have been studies to look at people who bounce around a bit between 50 and 200, and it does not appear that these low level viral loads are a predictor of impending virologic failure. I would always recommend following quite closely after any detectable viral load, but the prevailing data would suggest that this may just be a blip in the overall level of nearly complete suppression and you may continue to do quite well for quite some time on your current regimen.


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