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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
          
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follow up-high numbers early
Apr 4, 2003

Thanks for your answer of April 2 re. high numbers. I have some follow up questions. 1. Can tests determine if I have an "ugly Virus." 2. Are there thousands or millions of strains of the virus? 3. Most importantly, does this mean the virus will be quicker to resist or "beat" medications? 4. Does this mean that, even if In seek treatment, my long term odds are not as good as someone with a less ugly stain or a better system? Please answer each question-last time you did not ask my third question. :)) THANKS!!

Response from Dr. Henry

Following your CD4 count and HIV level over time provides a handle on whether your HIV strain is a bad strain for you or not. If you CD4 count remains high and HIV level low that is a good sign--I usually repeat those tests every 3-6 months depending on the situation. Each strain of HIV in each person probably has a few unique features. Since every immune system is different then each infection is novel is some way so careful observation is important. HIgh viral numbers (esp > 100,000) that persist suggest that your immune system has a hard time controlling the virus. Recent data suggest that treatment may be a good idea in that situation if with CD4 counts > 350. I would get a resistance test if that hasn't been done yet to look for resistant virus. Persons with high viral loads but without resistance usually respond to a good potent regimen quite well. KH



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