|TAKING ANTI RETROVIRAL DRUGS
Feb 28, 2006
Tested and found HIV positive with a CD4 count of 525. Why are the doctors refusing to place me on treatment? Why do they wait until a CD4 count is less than 200. Why can't they start treatment when they discover that a person is HIV positive.
| Response from Dr. Henry
For patients with a stable CD4 count > 500 and no symptoms, the risk to become ill from AIDS over a three year period is close to 0%. In that setting a patient may be more likely to have a side effect from treatment or develop resistance (handicapping future therapy) then to benefit from antiretroviral therapy. Close monitoring by an HIV specialist and attention to other health issues in the meantime works well for most patients. Current treatment can control HIV for a very long time but is not curative so starting immediately doesn't shorten how long one needs to stay on treatment. For most patients once treatment is started it is not recommended to stop therapy so it is a big deal for a person to start therapy. In the US the standard threshold for starting therapy is a CD4 count < 350 or so. KH
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