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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Should I start treatment?
Sep 22, 2010

Hi there. I found out I was HIV Pos this year. My very first test was VL 63,000 and CD4 420. Decided to wait and not started taking medecines. My Second results 3 months later was VL 6,000 and CD4 509. I exercise everyday and eat well. My question is, should I start treatment? I truly will appreciate your opinion. s

Response from Dr. Henry

Experts are split on whether a strong recommendation to treat should be given to otherwise healthy non-pregnant HIV+ persons with CD4 count > 500 and relatively low viral levels. The START Study is evaluating that question by randomizing patients to either immediate start of treatment or wait until CD4 count closer to 350. With your blood test results the risk for AIDS is low but there may be some increased risk for non-AIDS but HIV related events (heart disease, cancer and other) plus being on treatment significantly decreases the risk to transmit to others. I am enrolling patients in your situation in the START Study in order to get data as to what would be the best general recommendation. HIV meds have become easier to take and tolerate but remain expensive in the US and still are associated with some often mild side effects so I do not have a blanket recommendation-depends on other health and individual factors. KH

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