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HIV and Steriods???Will this Help
Dec 26, 2008

Helloo,

I am a professional Wrestler. At a show this weekend a few guys were talking about taking steroids and the benefits. One guy brought up that Steriods help in decreasing the viral load and helping T Cells. I am HIV + and have never heard of this. I do not see my HIV doctor till next month. So I was curious if you knew if Steriods would be a benefit to someone with HIV. As for me I have been + for a few years and I am not on any medications. My T-Cells have averegded at about 675 the past few years with my viral at about 35K. So my HIV doctor feels I do not need to be on meds. However, if the steriods help. I have always avoided not using them, but if they help I might re-consider. Im my profession they are pretty easy to obtain.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

There are different types of steroids. The type generally used (abused) by bodybuilders and wrestlers are androgenic steroids (like testosterone). Testosterone replacement therapy can be beneficial for guys with hypogonadism (low serum testosterone levels). This is a fairly common condition in us "virally enhanced" guys. However, supplementing to supra-physiologic levels or taking testosterone-replacement therapy when it's not needed (when your body's own testosterone production levels are normal) can be dangerous and result in a number of medical problems. I can also reduce your giant cojones to the size of Tic Tacs, because when you begin providing supplemental testosterone from outside the body, your body's own testosterone-making factories turn off and atrophy. (Say goodbye to your low hangers!) You can read more about this in the archives.

"Steroids" (corticosteroids) in general are immunosuppressive. They can further depress an already deficient immune system. They are generally not recommended for HIV disease or for those with depressed or deficient immune systems caused by any underlying condition (cancer, etc.). That said, we do use steroids for treatment of certain specific HIV-related conditions that benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of these drugs; severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, for example.

Bottom line, should you consider using steroids? No, absolutely not, unless you have a specific medical indication to do so. Do steroids benefit HIV disease? No.

Happy Holidays. Be Well.

Dr. Bob



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