Tuesday, 19 July 2011

When to start HIV treatment again?

Got to the Infectious Diseases appt today and had the check to make sure things had cleared up. Sometimes evidently you can need more than one treatment, but that's supposed to be rare. All this time I've had no symptoms at all. 

The HIV viral load (which I'd kept forgetting to ask) was at 17,000.

Got into a discussion with the doctor about HIV meds and when to start. My thoughts now are that I'd want to wait for as long as I could before taking anything, given my experiences so far of meds. Their view is that it can be started early, but given the complications that can arise from Highly Active Anti-retro-viral Treatment (HAART) they recommend 350 CD4 count as the best time to start. That is where they say the most benefit is gained from treatment, given the risks of treatment. Also a viral load extremely high can be another reason to start.

In my case I started very early, as pretty much a prevention. I was undergoing huge amounts of stress, which could at any time have affected the viral load. I've learnt from experience that stress can have a huge effect. The drugs worked marvelously, absolutely hammered the HIV. Unfortunately I also nearly died from kidney failure. How much of this is directly attributed to the HIV drugs themselves is unknown, as it was the Naprosyn that triggered the allergic reaction. I've little doubt though that had I not been on HIV drugs such a life threatening reaction wouldn't have occurred.

The "student" doctor that was going to interview me afterwards (actually a doctor of 5 years just doing their final exams or something) was called to an emergency so ended up not seeing me.

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