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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Getting off meds
Dec 19, 2008

I was diagnosed in 2000 with CD4 650 and viral load at 402,000. My doctor immediately put me on TRIZIVIR, which I am still on. My CD4 count went up to 950 and my viral immediately dropped to <50, where it has been since. What are the risks and or advantages of stopping medication at this junction?

Response from Dr. Henry

Stopping HIV meds generally leads to a return of HIV to pre-treatment level and a fall in the CD4 count. There may also be a period of immune disturbance/inflammation which could lead to increased risk for a range of non-AIDS events (such as heart disease, cancer) as seen in the SMART study. For some patients with high baseline CD4 counts treatment can be stopped for a while with no major health risk but there may be at least subtle health concerns even in those cases. There is no group of HIV +patients on treatment for whom treatment interruption can be generally recommended outside of research trials at present. KH

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