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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Drug holiday?
Apr 17, 2000

I was applying for health insurance when I discovered I was HIV +. I never been sick but I decided to begin with medications to avoid any sickness from HIV. The irony is that after 4 years of treatment now I am suffering the side effects of the medications (lipodystrophy, and a little depression). Do you think if I cut all the medications for one month my body can take a rest and continue with medications after that without affecting my health? (I have no detectable viral load and t cells around 1175)

Response from Dr. Henry

You don't mention what your initial t cell counts and viral levels were or what the lowest levels were. If your blood tests never were too worrisome (ie T cell never below 350) then a drug holiday might me worth discussion with your HIV doc. Another approach might also be to switch your HIV meds around to find some that may have fewer side effects for you. An evaluation for depression might be reasonable but a change in your meds/drug holiday might help that out. You might also want to read a good self help book like Healing HIV by Jon Kaiser to get a sense of what you can be doing diet/stress/exercise wise. Keith Henry, M.D.

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