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Recently Infected with Acute HIV
Jul 31, 2008

I have been recently infected with Acute HIV, I am also infected with Hep C and on my second round of Interferon and Ribavarin treatment. My CD4's are 600 and my Viral load is 11,000. I have read several articles stating that i should consider starting treatment now in the acute stage in order to help my immunesystem. Can anyone shine some light

Response from Dr. McGowan

Your question is complex and there is no correct answer. We are learning that HIV starts to affect the immune system from the very start of the infection. Especially around the intestines (in "the gut"). The intestines are a giant screening site for everything we eat as it enters our body, so the immune system has to scrutize everything that passes through. Therefore the gut is lined with lympocytes (CD4 cells and others). Damage to this screening system can happen very quickly (probably before we can even diagnose HIV infection). The best time to start treatment is currently not known. The pendulum is swinging more toward earlier treatment, and in certain circumatnaces such as older age, hepatitis B or C (as is recommednded in Europe)infection treatment should be started sooner.

Joe


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