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Does Suspending Meds Mean A Quick Death?
Nov 1, 2006

I tested HIV+ in March 1985 and have been on meds since December 1990. My CD4 has been between 425-475 and I've been undetectable for some time. A couple of years ago I asked my doc what would happen if I stopped taking the meds, and was told I'd be dead from one or more OIs within a year. Based on what is known now, is this still accurate? Thanks, in advance.

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for your post.

We have learned quite a bit about stopping medications over the years. In general the experience has been that whatever the lowest CD4 cell count was prior to starting therapy is approximately where one will end up upon stopping treatment. Therefore, if you had a very low count prior to starting treatment and you now stop you will likely return to this low number and may be at risk for developing complications. In contrast, if your CD4 cell count was never less than 250 or 300 cells/uL then you might be okay off therapy with careful follow-up. The most important thing is that you discuss this with your provider in advance so you can be followed closely. In addition, you need to be careful how therapy is stopped, if you choose this strategy, since there is the risk of developing resistance during this time if not done appropriately.

Best, Eric


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