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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
           
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Normal "disease free" life?
May 7, 2006

I am a 58 year old male in good health, probably infected late 2004, tested positive late 2005. CD4's in the 500's/40%, highest VL 1700. I had no serum conversion symptoms and feel fine. My HIV specialist says to follow my numbers over the next few years but inevitably will probably need meds. In your experience and experience of your colleagues what is the percentage of HIV postive folks who have no illness or complications, go on a first HAART regimen when the "time comes" based only on falling labs, have good adherence with no med problems or side effects, go undetectable and stay that way. In other words live life as if they never had a disease. I feel great now but am afraid of the side effects of the meds and how they will effect my ability to continue working. I read your expert posts daily and it seems people have so many problems with meds or is it just an unfortunate minortiy?

Response from Dr. Henry

Patients who start effective HIV medication when they are feeling good and have a reasonable CD4 count when starting(> 250-350) and who rarely miss medications generally are doing very well. Effective HIV therapy has only been available for 10 years but some people have now been doing well for that length of time with no end insight. A recent study from France noted that persons on treatment with CD4 counts consistently > 500 have little/no increased mortality compared to age matched HIV negative controls (headline read ? normal life expectancy for patients doing well on treatment). KH



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