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Drug Therapy after Infected 3 months
      #64998 - 05/27/03 09:17 PM

The big debate:

Does it matter if people recently infected start antivirals early or if numbers are good, should they forgo using meds and monitor numbers.

I am wondering if there is any benefit to starting early if it is good for the long term..or do side effects/toxicity become an issue? Also, can u stay on one regimen indefinitely? Or must you change drugs every few years?

Newly infected

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Re: Drug Therapy after Infected 3 months new
      #65001 - 05/27/03 10:19 PM

I was infected in 2001. I immediately sought out the best HIV/AIDS doctor available in my area. Finding my doc of choice here is what he says and I tend to agree. Watch your numbers and avoid meds for as long as you can, but prepare yourself mentally for the time you have to start and be ready. Everyone's T-cell count vers Virus and how you feel physically is different. Get to know your body and how you function daily without feeling fatiqued. As long as your quality of life is not being depleted you are ok, but watch for the warning signs. (note) Depression can also give out the fatique feeling and lessen your quality of life, thats where watching your numbers comes in, if you are experiencing depression. I avoided meds until my numbers started changing over a period of time. When they started changing I increased the amount of blood tests to keep a closer watch on how drastically and much the virus was increasing. I was also watching my daily energy level for any signs of change. My decission to start therpy was based on T-Cells of 290 and Viral Load of 100,000 copies, but also too, my energy level dropped and I began having a hard time getting through the day.
Find a doctor if you havent yet that you trust completly, and work with that doctor to maintain your health. The overall decissions are yours, bassed on how you feel.
Just watch your numbers, eat right, plenty of rest, dont do things that are risky to your immune system, like drugs, and drinking. Who knows you could be a non-progressor. Two of my friends have 350 Tcell and 100,000 viral load but physically they feel fine, and have been with these numbers for years now, never taking meds.
If and when you begin meds, work with your doctor and also a Meds Advocate. They will help you with which ones to begin with. Let them know side effects immediatly, if any. Sometimes the first combination works and you will remain on that regimine indiffinetly, periodic blood tests will show if your regimine has stopped working, thats when it would be time to change. Severe side effects can also call for a a change. Once again just know your body, how it reacts and constant communication with your medical providers, and watch your numbers for major changes. Increase in Viral and decrease in tcells.
Good luck, Hope this helps. BTW - I am not a doctor. What works best for you is always yours and your doctors decission together. And Knowledge is power. Learn about the disease, medications, side effects, as much as you can, and stay informed.
Take care.
Long Beach, California

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Re: Drug Therapy after Infected 3 months new
      #65003 - 05/27/03 10:55 PM

The most recent science says wait until you need treatment...until your t-cells are around 250 and your viral load is over 30,000. Tcell count is the critical thing.
People only start treatment early if they know that they just were's called primarly infection and then it can help to start treatment. but no one is really sure of this. The most important thing is to see a doctor who really knows his/her stuff and doesn't just have a few patients with HIV but has more than 30 and has been treating people with HIV for more than 6years and goes to all the conferences. call an aids organiztion near you and see if they can refer you.

Side effects are always an issue. You willhave to take these meds all your life so you want your liver and other organs to last all that time! And also every year they come out with better meds. So you always have a chance to get a better drug with less side effects. So wait. You want to conserve your body and wait till you really need it and also who knows what they may come up with in the next few years.

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