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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Over medication??
Jun 14, 2004

My sister was diagnosed as HIV positive more than 10 years ago. For more than 5 years, she has been at undetectable load levels. She is frustrated she's taking as many as 18 pill a day, most of which seem to be causing more problems than providing any solution. In fact one doctor told her that if she was diagnosed today that would have prescribed 'NO" medication for her! She is currently so angry she plans to stop taking her medication altogether. I've told to try to sort it out with her doctor, but I'm worried about what she will do. I assume she would be considered a "non progressor". Are there any new rules of thumb of how to treat them? Are many of then being taken off medication or are having their therapy modified?

Response from Dr. Conway

If her CD4 count has never been below 350 cells/mm3, it is possible that she can go off treatment with little or no risk of developing AIDS, at least in the medium term. If she does this, it will be very important that her counts be watched very carefully over time. Another possibility if she needs to stay on treatment is to take advantage of the newer, simpler (often once daily) treatments that could be made available to her. This could be an important and constructive conversation for her to have with her doctor.

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