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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Recently diagnosed - early days
May 27, 2005

Hi Dr Horwath,

I was diagnosed with HIV about a month ago. I've had 2 blood tests - results were VL=44165 CD4=767 and then week = VL 74,000 CD4=736. I believe that I was infected around 14 months ago. Apart from allowing myself to become infected with HIV, I have had good, healthy food & exercise regime - although perhaps a bit oversensitive to health "issues". I'm experiencing a welter of emotion & hypersensitivity to my body at the moment. I am wondering if there are specific symptoms associated with the HIV virus, and not receiving treatment, as I'm wondering if every little thing is due to this or is it just middle age? I'm 48.

An insightful word or two would be greatly appreciated.


Response from Dr. Henry

According to data from cohort studies like the ART collaborative data base, your chances to progress to AIDS over the next 3 years are close to zero. Minor symptoms (ie fatigue and increased skin rashes)and increased risk for some infections (like pneumonia and herpes zoster) can be seen even at the higher CD4 cell count levels but it is hard to pin down how much of an increase in seen since those problems are also seen in the general population. In my experience most persons in your situation have minimal to no symptoms so we work on good general health management (diet, exercise, vaccinations, cancer and heart disease screening/evaluation, safe sex and safe needle use) including mental health. KH

Headache and Vomiting Spells
Parent's concerned about HIV-Discordant couple

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