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Taken Off Medications After 18 Years
May 3, 2004

I was diagnosed HIV+ July 1986. Using a government medical system, my current labs indicate that I am no longer eligible for medications "according to today's standards". After taking a variety of medications over an 18 year period (one of the first to take AZT). I am very concerned over this issue. My last labs indicate viral load of -50 and CD4 of 424. Should I get a second opinion?

Response from Dr. Lee

I believe you should definitely get a second opinion. "Today's standards" are not easily applied to a person who has been taking medications for many years. We do not know what your initial (untreated) viral level might have been. Therefore there is no way to actually place you as an individual into the current recommendations. Clearly if you had a high CD4 (T4)before starting treatment, you may not be risking too much by stopping therapy at least for a while to see where you level out. But, if you had a low CD4 before starting treatment, you are likely to lose ground fairly rapidly. Espcecially in that case, I would not agree with stopping the medications.

Be well.



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