Apr 25, 2006
I was diagnosed in Aug 2003 and put on med (Lamivudine, Nervirapine and Zidovudine- Duovir N) in Dec 2003 and have been on them since then till 2006 Jan. Due to some probs,not medical more personal I haven't been using for 3 months this 27th April. I'm scared though as I'm aware of possible side effects such as resistance. What worries even more is that our doctors mostly don't give the critical advice one needs in this part of the world -Africa, like I usually read about from that part of the world. I have just had a CD4 check and waiting for results tomorrow but it's expensive for Viral Load test worse for resistance test, you are talking of millions in my currency, unfortunately even hospitals don't do it for patients cos of cost. Will it it stillbe safe for me to continue the above mentioned combo if advised to do by doctor or what can you advise. I really need inforamtion and help soon as I don't want to be attacked with OIs, tho noticed a persistant cold and chills. PLEASE HELP.
Response from Dr. Henry
In general if your CD4 count is improving and /or your absolute lymphocyte count is increasing along with weight stability/gain then the odds are good that you are still responding well to your medication. Given the limited access to tests and alternative medications it has been very reassuring to see reports that the outcome of treatment withe generic meds like Duovir-N has matched the outcome seen in studies from the US and Europe using newer meds and fancy/expensive tests (the New York Times even ran a headline that African patients beat US patients!!). A key factor is connecting with an HIV provider who is experienced and interested in your case (that is tough given the shortage of providers) so I hope you are blessed with a good HIV doc or nurse or other provider!! It is important to emphasize that taking the medications continuously minimizing stopping and starting or mising doses is the best way to improve the odds for maximum benefit. KH
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