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partner positive with low CD4 count

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Jeff G:

--- Quote from: shelleyp on May 01, 2013, 06:59:18 AM ---Dear ALL,
re: African boyfriend with low CD4 count. (170)

He has started taking ARV's but our question is does he have to take these for the rest of his life or until the CD4 count has got to the safe zone?
His doctor said he doesnt need to go for another CD4 count for one year.. but this seems strange - surely after a few months of taking ARV's it is good to check that his CD4 count is rising... (health care system appalling here so just wanted to check the info we are receiving)
There is no viral load test here - does this matter?

Any info would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks

--- End quote ---

Hi Shelly , I merged your threads into one because it will be easier for you and us to respond if we see the whole story together in one thread . Since your questions are about you boy friend you can post them in this thread , if you have trouble finding your thread you can go to your profile and select show own post and it will take you here .

Your BF will need to take his medication everyday around the same time every day . Once you begin ARV treatment its a lifetime commitment but not too much a price to pay for a healthy life . Its important to take the meds everyday , that's called being adherent . If he forgets to take a single dose once or twice a month its no big deal but more than that the virus may mutate and the medicine becomes ineffective , that's called resistance issues .   

The good news is he is on treatment , yes it would be better if they did more labs and had viral load test to see in 6 weeks what the meds have done to the virus but you are working with what you have to work with there . I bet he is going to just fine .

Many thanks for your reply, very helpful. About the viral load - it seems they dont do this test here, does this matter? How often should he do a CD4 count now he is on ARV's. Really appreciate your assistance, it's great have this type of support.

Viral load and CD4 are two things to measure to see  how someone is doing.  I hear you when you say viral load testing is NOT the standard offer in your country. 

Viral load matters because successful treatment is usually judged by a person's viral load staying very low - "undetectable".   

It is possible that a person can be taking the treatment, but after a time, the virus can escape the treatment.  That's the point where, if a different treatment is available, the person switches to different drugs to get the virus level back down to undetectable.

I don't know the situation in your country so I can only guess that viral load is not tested as a cost saving measure.   So I think the best would be to try to ask either health workers OR other HIV+ people in your country, how they deal with the lack of viral load testing... 

I also want to say again that its not inevitable that an HIV+ has treatment failure. But, here again, you would probably want to ask people in your community how often treatment failure occurs, and what they do about it.   You could also find out just how many different drug combinations are available in your country.   

Since viral load testing is not offered, there may be a limited variety of drugs, as well.  If so, this isn't fair, and it isn't nice. 

Everyone living with HIV needs to know both the global situation, and the local situation.  Someone in the US might have a certain experience, which will be different to a Peruvian, which will be different to a Russian, and to a Moroccan, etc etc etc etc.

Thanks for the advice and support. I think my partner needs to check with his doctor whether viral load is available now that he is aware that it could be very important. I also have no idea what type of ARV'S he is taking since they give in a plastic sealed container with no name.. this is slightly worrisome. When do you think he should check again about his CDC 4 count? (after 3 months)
Many thanks

Sure as early as they will test, find out his CD4s.
You might want to ask the health workers or any doctor or and HIV+ people what the  drugs in the HAART are.  Good to know these things.
I hope he will get healthy quickly. Unlucky that he got HIV but lucky now he knows and is getting attention for it. 


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