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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Do you have to use Androgel for life?
Aug 26, 2012

A few months ago I started treatment, and my viral load is near undetectable, my CD4 count has increased to 68, and the doctor says my testosterone is low. I have been taking all the medication correctly, and on time, but for some reason I don't use the Androgel every day. Is this something I have to use every day for the rest of my life? A couple months or years? I'm already getting frustrated with all the pills I have to take, and it would be easier to use the Androgel daily if I knew there was an end in sight. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Henry

There is little data supporting the use of long term testosterone replacement regarding improvement in mortality. Drugs like Androgel are used of quality of life indications-there remains a concern about long term cardiac, prostate, and other health issues. Taking exogenous testosterone would be expected to suppress natural testosterone production (certainly not increase it) so whenever the Androgel is topped the levels of testosterone will fall to the pre-treatment levels -or lower--indefinately. Thus there is no defined endpoint for when such replacements can or should be stopped---that is a problem that needs to be addressed but good data is limited and will be slow in coming. KH

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