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HIV Health and Treatment Issues >> Treatment & Side Effects

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NurseEddie
Newbie

Reged: 09/09/05
Posts: 1
When to begin treatment?
      #159752 - 09/09/05 10:19 AM

I contracted HIV June 2004, diagnosed July 19th, 2004. I am also a newly recovering meth addict fresh out of inpatient treatment. My CD4 count, as of 08/09/05 was 997 with a viral load of 69,000. In May my numbers were 580 and 92,000, respectively. Here's my question: should I begin meds now while my CD4 count is high or should I wait until my CD4 count falls to approximately 350? My former specialist, Ben Young, MD (Denver, CO) says I should wait and see for now, and I have yet to see my new specialist (Missouri). I don't want to question Ben's medical opinion but, honestly, I'm a bit scared that allowing my CD4 count to fall and then try to rebuild might be harder on my body than starting meds while my counts are high. Does anyone have some input?

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: When to begin treatment? new
      #159825 - 09/10/05 06:22 AM

It;s a difficult descision. But you have to weigh the toxicities of the meds which you have to take for all your life to the need to preserve your cd4 count. I would wait till your cd4 count was 350 which is not too low. What's your cd4 percentage? That's important to look at too. Most good docs would agree with Ben. YOu could find someone inexperienced or not as knowledgeable as Ben who would start you on treatment, but that doesn't mean it would be right. Remember you have to preserve your organs and treatment can sometimes cause pretty bad side effects. They are powerful and they do have toxicities. Who knows maybe you won't progress for years! By then there probably will be more HIV treatment with less side effects that are even easier to take then today's treatments. Stay off of meth and eat healthy and take vitamins...keep your immune system the healthiest you can and wait it out. As far as I can tell, research does not show great benefit for starting too early. Starting at 350 is sort of in between.
Karen

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: When to begin treatment? new
      #159876 - 09/11/05 03:34 PM

Hi Karen, thank you for your input. To answer your question about percentage, my CD4 T-helper % is 37. My CD4 T-helper count is 997 and my CD3 T cell count is 1974. I don't know what the 37% means...is it good, bad, in between?
I was thinking that I would stay off meds for now, just as you suggested. Again, thanks for adding your 2 cents worth.
Eddie


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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: When to begin treatment? new
      #160017 - 09/14/05 06:31 PM

I've been poz for two years. Im not planning to ever go on meds and I don't recommend anybody who eats healthy, exercises and avoid drug use to ever have to go on meds. See http://www.suppressedscience.net/aids-debate.html and continue your own research. There is a lot going on here. I wouldn't be surprised if this website was heavily sponsored by the pharmacutical industry.....hence the hiv=aids hypothesis and use of medications for HIVer's. Do your research, you have to know more than your doctor. Avoid the meds and the drugs!

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: So CD4 %? can someone explain this? new
      #160018 - 09/14/05 07:28 PM

Why is the CD4% such an important number?
I don't understand and my Doc doesn't seem to either! (hate that) all he says is that it should be above 14%, but when I ask why/what does it mean? I get no straight answer. Can some explain this? Thanks!

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: When to begin treatment? new
      #160030 - 09/14/05 08:19 PM

What a ridiculous post! Read the research. The SCIENTIFIC research! Why are all the people with HIV in the developing world DYING? Cause they can't get the medications. You can do what you want! But donate the meds that you can get access to to people in Africa who will do anything for the opportunity to live.

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debtex
Legend

Reged: 03/21/05
Posts: 846
Re: So CD4 %? can someone explain this? new
      #160088 - 09/15/05 04:55 PM

The way I was told (by one of the hiv nurses in our department), is the percentage describes the "strength" of your immune system. say, you percentage from the 900 results is 35, and the following cd4 is 600, but 37%, your body is probably just fighting something and is still very strong. a normal range is between 20 and 60. so this is still good.

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Damon
Unregistered

Re: When to begin treatment? new
      #160302 - 09/20/05 10:02 AM

I was diagnosed back in 94, when i was diagnosed i have 475 cd4, and 50'000 VL .

I started on AZT and 3TC, after 1 year, i was asked if i wanted to join a study to take interluekin-2 ( immune booster) After doing the cycle for 5 days, i had blood taken again 2 months later. cd4 was over 1600, my VL was undetecable.
I do interluekin once a year, and now i have got my immune system to where I only take meds when i Cycle.
So you may want to look into studies that are done by NIH or other organizations.
There is some great stuff out to help us live with hiv for a long time.
As for when to take meds, its ultimately up to you. Find meds that side effects arent so bad, make sure you have a doctor who knows what their talking about.
There is alot of diversity on when to take meds. Which is best, is still undetermined. Some say keeping the VL as low as possible is best, some say keep the CD4 up is best.
No one knows how each person body is going to react to meds.
There is alot of information out there on the web, and it does take a little bit of time ot find it. Read and knowledge yourself before making any decisions, and let your doctor know what you think. If they are a good doctor they will listen.
Wish you luck with it, hope you find out some better answers

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Ebony
Unregistered

Re: When to begin treatment? new
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