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anabolics in early infection?
May 1, 2000

I'm a recently diagnosed HIV+ male, 27; I'm pretty sure I was infected within the last three months (no earlier than Jan 2000). I don't know my viral load and CD4 count yet. I'm very slim, always have been -- about 115 lbs. and 5 feet 9 inches. Would you advocate starting a regimen of steroids (Deca, testosterone) along with exercise right away to gain weight? As a "preemptive" measure? I know the "cosmetic" effect would benefit me greatly, but what about the potential (physical) health benefits and problems? Also, I've read that anabolic steroids increase CD8s (which is supposedly better correlated with survival than CD4s). Is this true?

Response from Dr. Dieterich

The main thing is to get started on antiretroviral therapy first and get the virus under control. I would not start anabolics etc until I measured the testosterone and if you have not had any weight loss or decline in energy, there would be no reason to start them. Remember no medicine is free of side effects and whenever we start any treatment we must weigh potential risks against the potential benefits. There is no such thing as a free lunch! Stay well! Douglas T. Dieterich, M.D.

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