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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Discontinuing Medication
Nov 14, 2002

I have had two doctors suggest I get off HIV meds because my viral load is <50 adn my t-cells are over 1200. I have been on meds for over 12 years and the only problem I have is my belly has expanded and my arms and legs have the same mass as I had 12 years ago. Is it advisable to discontinue treatment until my viral load increases and my t-cells are below 300? Ultimately this is my choice, but am looking for an impartial 3rd opinion.

Response from Dr. Henry

That depends partly on what your low CD4 count was (caustion urged if < 200), what your pre-treatment HIV levels are (if known), and whether you were ever ill with an AIDS defining events (if you were ill initially then I would be reluctant to stop meds). If your CD4 count has never been < 350 and you haven't been ill then stopping treatment might be a good option (also more attractive if you don't have much resistance whereas if you on a successful regimen now after failing several regimens then I would be more concerned about stopping treatment). KH

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