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Author Topic: How to know if meds are failing?  (Read 2532 times)

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Offline Sunshine84

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How to know if meds are failing?
« on: July 20, 2013, 02:56:03 PM »
Sorry if Im posting in the wrong forum..

Well..I meet my doc once every 6 months..

I'm just curious...would I know if my meds are failing me? Do I feel it? 

Sometimes I get the flu or some common illness...and I worry that it is the meds failing...I can't seem to differentiate that sense of sickness..from potential drug failure..I guess that's anxiety working on me...

Still, it would be nice to know if there are warning signals...

Thanks peeps.
Science will save the day!

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: How to know if meds are failing?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 03:45:41 PM »

Honestly, if your doctor is comfortable seeing you every six months that's a pretty good sign. What were your last numbers?

Normally it takes longer than six months for you to "feel" a failing regimen, but the labs ought to catch it long before that. If your viral load is undetectable, and your CD4 count/percentage is climbing/good, you shouldn't feel any worse than the average bear.

It's easy to view things through an HIV-centric lens. I've been positive since 1993 and I sometimes still do it. I honestly don't think there are warning signals you would feel that your labs would not reflect - or that your labs would not already have reflected some time before.

I stopped taking my meds in 2005, and it took a year walking around with undiagnosed PCP before I "felt" anything, and even then the decline was so gradual that I didn't notice until I was literally unable to walk to the mailbox and back. By that time, my viral load was about two million and I had roughly a dozen cd4 cells.

I've been on my current reguimen since I escaped that dark patch, and feel remarkably well much of the time. Sadly, my immune system is pretty beat down from that episode and the half dozen or so other near-misses I experienced through the decades, so sometimes I do have "AIDS-y" days. But that's pretty much to be expected, and compared to many people I got off lightly.

If you are anxious about your regimen, can you request more frequent labs? I see my ID doctor every three months or so, and I am comfortable with that timetable (especially after YEARS of monthly labs and stuff). Maybe you'd be more comfortable with that level of monitoring as well?

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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