Question

I am a christian living in Zambia and a former member of pentecost church with strong belief in prayer and fasting. Prior to being put on ART i was on a three day fasting(without taking any food or water) which resulted in some mental complications. I was taken to a mental hospital where doctors advised that i undertake HIV/AIDS tests. My CD4 dropped to 114 then after a week increased 174 without taking any ARVs. All HIV tests were negative, but was advised to start ART a month later. While on ART the lowest cd4 count has been 199 and the highest 299. I have not fasted since i started ART. Can i fast for 3 days without taking any food while on ART?

Answer

Hello and thanks for posting.

Your faith is an important element of quality of life-- as such it's important to respect beliefs and traditions.

Most HIV medications can be taken on an empty stomach. Only indinavir should be taken with consideration to water. There are only a few exceptions to the food restriction- these include atazanavir (Reyataz), darunavir (Prezista) and rilpivirine (part of Complera). If you're taking one of these, you won't absorb your medications very well. Otherwise, there's no dietary or drink requirements.

As for water, I'd be cautious- if you have any kidney issues, getting dehydrated can add to the risk of further kidney injury. Even if you don't, I'd advise making sure that you start your fast as well hydrated as possible.

Hope that helps, and let us know how this goes for you. BY