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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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dry skin & hair color change
May 9, 2000

Hello - I've been HIV+ for eleven months, on HAART for nine months. CD4 is around 500, viral load is undetectable.

I'm taking 3TC, D4T, Crixivan, and Retinovir (soft capsules). My primary care HIV physician is of the "hit it hard, hit it early" philosophy.

Things have been going well - my viral load dropped quickly, then slowly until it reached undetectable levels in January.

Regardless, I've had changes that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. I've got incredibly dry skin and eczema like patches. Also, my eyebrows and pubic hair have changed colour from brown to blonde! I had problems with diarrhea and ingrown toenails, but they've been resolved.

My doctor has suggested that the dry skin was likely just "winter itch" (I live in a cold and dry climate, but I've never had anything like this before) and that the hair colour change could be caused by an increase in stress.

Have these side effects been reported by others, and if so are they related to the Retinovir/Indinovir or other drugs? My doctor is planning on switching me to Sustiva instead of the Crixivan/Retinovir combo in June and I'm hopeful that this will resolve things.

Thanks for this great resource. The Body was one of the first places I discovered when I first found out I was HIV+, and the information and support helped me through the hardest time in my life.

Response from Dr. Henry

Those skin changes are most likely due to the Crixivan +/- Norvir. A change to Sustiva might help many of those complaints. Keith Henry, M.D.

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