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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
           
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When should medication begin.
May 9, 2005

I have been HIV positive since 1989 and have never been sick. I am presently overweight and have no symptoms. I am reluctant to start any medication or treatment for fear of increasing my insurance risk or leading to its cancellation. Subconsciously I feel the drugs maybe more harm than good until I possibly in the future become sick.

Response from Dr. Conway

It all depends on your CD4 count. If it is above 350, most people would not recommend you start therapy. If it is below 200, most would, as your short-term risk of developing a life-threatening complication of HIV infection becomes significant. If it is 200-350, you need to think about how committed you would be to treatment to begin, as you can afford to wait, but you will probably need to start on medical grounds in the not-too-distant future. Remember that the treatments we use these days are MUCH better than they used to be, often taken once a day and with more favorable side effect risks. Just as an exercise, you may want to think about what you would take if you had to start, and see if you could deal with it....



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