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Early start of meds
Mar 22, 2008

I have been infected last summer and have CD4 count of 800 and viral load of 21000. My doctor told me i could choose between going on medication or wait. He told me the following advantages of going early on medication: - early start, so better for body, not that strong medication - by being 0 viral load, i would become of no harm (if anything happens by accident) to other people - taking the medication would make me 'immune' to other exposure, other strains Is this true? I'm struggling with this, medication or no medication? Thank you

Response from Dr. Henry

Those are some of the reasons early treatment might be worthwhile though you could still get infected with another strain of HIV (being on treatment does not make a patient immune to super infection). Your risk for an AIDS or HIV-related non AIDS health problem is low with a CD4 count >> 500 so the true health benefit would likely be very modest for the short term. The NIH is starting the START trial to answer questions like yours. The trial involves randomizing patients with no h/o HIV treatment and a CD4 count > 500 to either immediate start of antiretroviral meds (ART) or wait until the CD4 count reaches 350 (the current US threshold for starting ART). That is an important study and highlights that we don't really know the answer to your question at present. KH



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