I was diagnosed positive this month. My viral load is 2500 copies/ml with CD4 count 375 (23%). Actually viral load is low, so not so sure starting ART would help increasing CD4 parameters? It seems to be long and uncertain process. What additional information can help me to decide? I'm a bit reluctant starting an eternal treatment without a reliable success monitoring measure in fact. Thanks in advance for advising!
Your viral load may be "low' at the time of your blood test but that does not mean that it will remain "low". Your CD4 cells count is under 500 cells/mm3 which is the cut off for starting HIV medications in many countries.
Here are advantages of starting HIV treatment now:
1- Your CD4 count may increase to over 500. People who start treatment at low CD4 cell count have lower chances to regain normal CD4 count with HIV treatment. Waiting may mean your CD4 count may go down and decrease your chances for long term immunologic success.
2-You will become less infectious to others.
3- You will decrease your HIV virus reservoir number (hidden hiV).
4- You can stop worrying about what will happen in the future with your numbers.
5- You can decrease your chances of getting an opportunistic infection.
6- You can take advantage of better treatments available now that do not have as many side effects as the old ones.
7- You can improve your life span.
The fear of side effects should not stop you from these 7 benefits. Do what's right and do not wait.