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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Autonomous Neuropathy before Treatment
May 20, 2009

I've been positive since 2002. I now have a very high viral load and CD4 level below 350. I've had a sudden (since about 3 weeks ago) onset of what I believe points to Autonomous Neuropathy. These are my symptoms: numbness in my toes, tingling and burning sensations in my fingers, skin is peeling off my fingers and muscles underneath are shrinking, I'm experiencing spasms in my abdominal muscles at night, I'm suffering from bad insomnia, I've lost almost 10 lbs in the last 3 weeks, I have no appetite and I feel like my mouth is dry all the time. Here is my question, since I'm not on antivirals do you think there is any hope that once my viral load is reduced and CD4 count goes up, these awful HIV side effects will improve?

Response from Dr. Henry

The symptoms you are experiencing could be due to HIV-related neuropathy in which case improvement after starting effective HIV treatment is likely (though in some cases improvement is slow and sometimes simply stabilizes). KH

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