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medication and crack cocaine -- will it effect my treatment?
Jan 13, 2005

I got diagnosed with hiv in july 2004 - must only have contracted it a couple of months previous according to the doctors. Up until then I had never taken any drugs whatsoever - into fitness, the gym, etc but since finding out my girlfriend introduced me to crack.

I am 27 and at the time thought I may as well, I have ruined my life anyway. What I would like to know as I haven't seen any questions on this in the past - is it possible for smoking crack to have reduced my cd4 so quickly 300 and my viral load never to have gone further down than 80 000? I am to start treatment - viread, sustiva and 3tc and was wandering if smoking a liitle crack once a week would do any problems to the effectiveness of the treatment? I am not asking about the morality of taking drugs, but purely would it cause any problems with the odd smoke as I find it calms me and at the moment nothing else seems to give me any enjoyment thanks d

Response from Dr. Pierone

Smoking a little crack once a week yikes! I feel like Dr. Phil - what are you hoping to hear, that it's no problem, just be careful and keep an eye on your counts? This is not a moral issue, just a practical one. I have too many patients that do crack cocaine and as a rule it gets out of control and degrades the quality of their lives in ways to many to count. It is up there with one of the most addictive drugs on the planet and my advice is to stay away from it like the plague. Lack of enjoyment may be a sign of depression (very common in those dealing with HIV infection) and crack does not treat this condition, but exacerbates it. Having HIV infection does not mean that your life is ruined. I wish you the best.

(Editor's note: For crack interactions with medications, see http://www.thebody.com/whatis/druguse_rec.html

You might also want to read some first person stories about using recreational drugs when you're positive: http://www.thebody.com/bp/oct97/jail.html http://www.thebody.com/pwacc/summer03/users_corner.html )

Response from Dr. Pierone

Smoking a little crack once a week yikes! I feel like Dr. Phil - what are you hoping to hear, that it's no problem, just be careful and keep an eye on your counts? This is not a moral issue, just a practical one. I have too many patients that do crack cocaine and as a rule it gets out of control and degrades the quality of their lives in ways to many to count. It is up there with one of the most addictive drugs on the planet and my advice is to stay away from it like the plague. Lack of enjoyment may be a sign of depression (very common in those dealing with HIV infection) and crack does not treat this condition, but exacerbates it. Having HIV infection does not mean that your life is ruined. I wish you the best.

(Editor's note: For crack interactions with medications, see http://www.thebody.com/whatis/druguse_rec.html

You might also want to read some first person stories about using recreational drugs when you're positive: http://www.thebody.com/bp/oct97/jail.html http://www.thebody.com/pwacc/summer03/users_corner.html )



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