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Help for HIV positive African Woman
Dec 1, 2003

I have a sister in Africa (Tanzania) who was diagnosed with HIV in August 2003. They did not do any CD4 cell count, but just said the viral load was high. In Tanzania there is virtually no treatment and no doctors to help. 1. I am wondering what is the best way of helping her? 2. Is there any medicine which has low/no side effect which I send her her to help with treatment even though she may not have a regular doctor to monitor her health? 3. How can I find medication? I leave and work in MN USA and my sister is in Tanzania.

Response from Dr. Conway

There are a number of programs that may be available to her in Dar-es-Salaam, so I would encourage her to try to find out about them. Further, many HIV clinics that I know store medications that are still good but cannot be used for some reason and may be quite happy to let you get them. I would encourage you to approach your local AIDS service organization to find out.

On another note, it would be quite important to find out what her CD4 count is. I know there are a number of cheap tests available throughout East Africa, and you may also want to look into this. The reason this would be so important is that the most life-saving measure for your sister will be the prevention of infections, such as PCP, tuberculosis or others. This involves the use of relatively inexpensive medications that are readily available in Tanzania.

Good Luck...

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