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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Why are people still dying of AIDS with the incredible meds available today?
Jan 29, 2005

This may sound like a stupid question, but why are people still dying of AIDS? I am 31, seroconverted two years ago. I chose to start treatment right away. I am excercising regularly, eating healthy (don't even remember when I had Mc'D's last) I have not skipped my dose once. My vl is undetectalbe and CD4 is 560-660. I think I am doing well, but when I hear of people still dying of AIDS I panic. I may not be the happiest person on earth, but I don't want to get to that. Are people just not taking as good care of themselves or is the infection so unpredictable that I may find myself there soon as well. I haven't told my parents 'cause they wouldn't really understand, but if that's the case I want to tell them before they have to come visit me in an hospital bed.

Response from Dr. Henry

Throughout the world the major reason why people are still dying is due to lack of access to effective antiretroviral medications-a shameful situation (estimated that > 90% of persons who should be on meds are not). In my practice setting (inner city public hospital), deaths in our HIV patients are infrequent are more commonly due to non-AIDS problems(accidents, suicides, drug overdose, cancer, hepatitis C, heart disease/diabetes). Our infrequent AIDS-related deaths are typically in patients who we have treated since before effective meds were available (thus resistance created), poorly compliant patients (often with drug abuse or mental health or homelessness), new patients presenting late, or patients who choose to deny themselves heathcare. Our deaths among patients treated since 1996 who take medications faithfully are very rare. We expect those patients to do well for a long time (still to be determined but likely measured in decades). KH

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