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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
          
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Just diagnosed with HIV
Nov 13, 2005

On Oct 31 I found out that I'm HIV+. My cd4 is 368 or 28%, and my viral load is 127,000, are these numbers bad? Should I think about starting meds? If I do, when should I start them?

Response from Dr. Conway

I'm very sorry to hear of your diagnosis. It is difficult to say anything definitive based on a single set of numbers. I would just tell you right now that your immune system is somewhat weakened, and you will need to have a number of tests over the next months to see how quickly it is changing and whether you really need to start treatment now. In general terms, treatment should be started for anyone who has a CD4 count of 200 or less, due to the immediate risk of serious complications of HIV infection, i.e. opportunistic infections. For people with CD4 counts between 200 and 350 (where you almost are), the decision to start treatment is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on how fast the CD4 cell count is going done...this needs to be established for you before you make a decision on treatment.

In the meantime, I really hope you have someone to help you deal with the diagnosis of HIV infection that has just been made.



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