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HIV Health and Treatment Issues >> Treatment & Side Effects

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vbd1966
Regular

Reged: 05/20/10
Posts: 39
First Lab results - to med or not to med?
      #250765 - 06/15/10 08:52 PM

I'm newly diagnosed (does 2 months still count as new?) and I just got my first set of lab results back. CD4 of 558 and VL of 130K. Doctor's not inclined to start me on meds since CD4 is high, but at the same time a VL of 130K still means I carry a risk of infecting others (partner/husband and kids). If I start meds, I could be undetectable in a matter of weeks where the risk of infecting others drops significantly.

So, the question the doctor posed is "do you want to start on meds?" The options presented are: 1) Atripla, 2) Truvada & Intelence or 3) Truvada & Isentress. I'm going to check out the meds and their side-effects before making any kind of decision, but also interested in your take. Does it make sense to go on meds now, knowing I'll always have to take them? or should I wait until I really need them?

Thanks in advance!

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bartlebyAdministrator
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Reged: 01/19/10
Posts: 660
Re: First Lab results - to med or not to med? new
      #250785 - 06/17/10 02:28 PM

Here are some FAQs we have on when to start.
http://www.thebody.com/content/treat/art39439.html

Most people wait because they don't want to develop resistance to the meds, or don't want to deal with side effects just yet. If it were me, I'd wait.

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vbd1966
Regular

Reged: 05/20/10
Posts: 39
Re: First Lab results - to med or not to med? new
      #250786 - 06/17/10 02:48 PM

Thanks. I've been reading as much as I can and while my CD4 is pretty good, I do not like the 130K on the VL. I don't know why, but that kinda freaks me out. I'm leaning towards starting meds (one of the guidelines I saw suggested treatment should be "offered" if VL is > 100K). I'm going to continue reading/researching/soliciting advice and follow up with the doc in a few weeks -- yay! another blood draw!

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PartlyCloudy
Newbie

Reged: 06/29/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Texas
Re: First Lab results - to med or not to med? new
      #250954 - 06/29/10 11:30 PM

I would say "don't fire until you see whites of their eyes". My doctor would say "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". For the first 17 years I took absolutely no medications whatsoever. My vl was consistently below 5k and cd4 consistently around 700. When the cd4 dropped to 550 with a vl of only 6k my doc put me on meds as a precaution. That was 5 years ago, and the meds were combivir and sustiva. I took them for 18 months and just could not tolerate the side effects any longer, so I stopped meds for about a year. Then I was put on norvir, reyataz, and truvada... again as a precaution. Now these were okay because there were no immediate daily side effects. After about 12-14 months of prolonged exposure to that regimen I began to notice cumulative side effects. I quit all medications two years ago and have not looked back. However, this may not be a viable option for you, and I do not offer my experiences as "advice". My experiences are offered here more as a reminder to find out what the short term, long term, and cumulative side effects of any regimen might be and how those would effect you later on down the road. I am 23 years in, and still healthy without meds... vl below 3k and cd4 near 600ish. Granted I do have a wife and children to think about, but I am of little use to them if I have no quality of life of my own. The side effects were devastating to the point of effecting that quality of life as well as my ability to adequately support my family. Look before you leap. Know what the both the immediate and cumulative side effects are possible to be. Regardless what you decide always remember that it is your body, therefore your choice in the end. You are not a lab experiment nor should you ever be. In this, your life truly is in your own hands.

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One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a human.

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