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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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What are chances of havinga weak strain?
Aug 3, 2004

My son has been positive for 1 1/2 years now. Dr. put him on meds as a hit them hard early strategy so we really never knew what his true numbers were. Now, he may be taking him off meds for what we hope will be years to come. However, I try to educate myself as much as possible about HIV but never really get definite answers. I want to know if when his numbers become realistic w/o meds will we be able to determine if he has a "weak" strain of the virus? If this were the case than his life expectany could be more realistic to a "near normal life expectany" as your forum refers to? I want to believe that he will live a near normal life span how can I get a clear answer?

Response from Dr. Henry

The only way to really evaluate how your son's virus impacts his immune system is to stop the medications and observe carefully. Stopping meds can often be done safely for a while if the CD4 count never was less than 250-350. Stopping some meds can lead to risk for resistance if not done carefully (i.e. stopping Sustiva with its long half-life can lead to resistance unless the drugs are stopped in a certain manner which is still being worked out). Natural history studies done in the past suggest that perhaps 5-10% of patients may be long term non-progressors= do well without treatment for 10+ years. KH

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