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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Apr 3, 2005

Dr. I was diagnozed as HIV+ in 2002 as a result of infected blood products back in my own country. Since then, I have been on one regimen of drugs only, Combivur and Sustiva. I have lately started experiencing severe joint and muscle pain and no over the counter meds will ease the pain. Is the pain in any way related to the Retrovir combination or NRIT ? I will truly appreciate your reply. Question 2: What effect will it have on my CD4 and Viral load if I stop this med for a period of time and can I resume it after a couple of months?

Once again, thank you for your efforts to help me understand these questions.

Response from Dr. Henry

It would be unusual for your HIV meds to cause the joint and muscle pain you describe--most often it is some other condition. I would want to see one of my patients with that complaint to do an exam and some blood tests to try and sort out what could be causing those pains. Stopping your HIV meds usually results in a return of the virus to pre-treatment levels and a fall in your CD4 count. There is also a risk for resistance to the Sustiva if not carefully managed under the supervision of an experienced HIV provider. KH

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