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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
           
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Starting treatment
Mar 16, 2005

I have gotten three different opinions on whether or not to start treatment. My CD4 cells are at 400 (16%) and my viral has been between 150,000 and 400,000 since I test positive in December 2003. (I had acute flu symptoms in July of 03 and have reason to believe I contracted the virus shortly before then.) I am 33 with no symptoms, am celibate and sober. The CD4 cell count, viral load, and percentage number have always bounced around with one getting better while the other gets worse. Any advice or response?

Thank you very much.

Response from Dr. Henry

Starting HIV therapy is a highly personal decision the key component of which is that the patient needs to be convinced of the value and willing to put effort into making therapy work for him/her. If indeed you have been recently infected and your CD4 count is now at 400 and stable or falling with viral loads > 100,000-the risk for progresson over the next 3 years is fairly high and I would recommend treatment for at least 6 months and then re-assess how you are doing. KH



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