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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Newly Positive
Oct 31, 2000

I suppose this will not be the first time a newcomer here asks this question, but here goes. I am newly diagnosed in the last week with cd4 of 749 and viral load of 91,000. What should I be asking my doc about treatment?

Response from Dr. Bartlett

First, let me commend you for getting tested and seeking information. As you discuss treatment with your doctor, it is important to seek information about the pros and cons. It is not an emergency for you to start, and you are entering into a critical time to make sure that treatment is optimized. Ask your doctor about the goals of treatment. Ask about the benefits of treatment, and how you can make sure that you achieve those benefits, (largely by taking your medications exactly as prescribed). Talk about your daily schedule, and how taking medicines might fit in. If you are experiencing depression, get treatment. If you use alcohol or other substances for recreation habitually, get into recovery. Talk about potential side effects so that you can choose a regimen which will work best for you. Talk about pill count, because some folks have a hard time taking a lot of pills. Be sure that you can give feedback to your doctor soon after starting a new regimen, so that if there are problems you can address them quickly.

John A. Bartlett, M.D.

High LDL Cholesterol and extremely low HDL JB

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