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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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healthcare worker
Jul 12, 2006

Hello. I am a 29 year old black/caucasian recent victim of a slight needlestick incident involving a patient who may or may not be HIV positive. I was recently given Combivir and Viracept in the E.R. After visiting occupational health they stopped the Viracept and had me continue with Combivir. It has been 5 days and I am noticing some large painful pimples that don't heal quickly, slight mood changes, malaise, sleepiness & sleeplessness, joint and muscle pain, and I feel mentally slow. Also I have a smell that is unpleasant which gets better after showering but returns. Is it just in my nostrils or coming from my pores and can others smell it? Is this related to the Combivir? How accurate would a 20 minute mouth swab be and would it suffice? I am eager to discontinue the prophylaxis but I understand that for my benefit these measures must be taken. Is 28 days the recomended duration and what side effects can I expect specifically in that time frame? For example I am concerned about the facial fat redistribution...When does that normally occur?

Response from Dr. Henry

After a needle stick where it was deemed there was a risk for HIV a 28 day of preventative treatment is recommended. 28 days of Combivir rarely would result in any shifts of fat distribution. Your nostril complaints would unlikely be due to the Combivir though some of the pain and sluggishness you describe could well be due to the side effects of Combivir (those often get better after several weeks). KH

Headaches and fatigue
hiv meds and cholesteral levels

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