Q and A

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Should I start HIV meds now I have a co-infection?

I am HIV positive with good CD4 over 700 without treatment. I discovered this recently and probably I got it also not long time ago. My problem is that now I have likely picked up a hepatitis infection and my platelet count is around 30,000 and dropping quickly.

Is the dropping of platelets due to HIV or hepatitis?
Is it better to cure this with cortisone or start HIV therapy?


Should I worry about an Atripla dose that is 4 hours late?

I was diagnosed with HIV just barely over a year ago. Because my CD4 count was low my doctor prescribed Atripla.

Within 3-4 months of being on the drug my CD4 count had jumped up to over 800 (from 370) and my viral load dropped to undetectable. I’ve been taking it really carefully and on-time or within an hour and my last labs showed that my CD4 count was reconstituted and my VL was still undetectable.

Last night I had my first blunder. I went out to a birthday party with at a friends house and I forgot my pill at home. It was about 4 hours late. Could this mishap unravel all work I had done to keep my CD4 up?

My husband is undetectable, can he still infect me?

My husband tested HIV positive 3 1/2 years ago. He is on treatment and has been undetectable for the last 3 years. I tested negative at the time and have retested every year since and continue to be negative. We have used condoms for intercourse, but we would like to stop using them. What are the chances of my contracting the virus from him at this point if we did stop using condoms?

I have a high viral load and my headache is getting worse

I am HIV positive and have got a very high viral load my problem is two days ago I developed a mildish headache and woke up with an even worse one that during the day go worse. By the next day it felt like my skull was been squeezed folled by sensivety to all light. By now my neck feels stiff and the pain to the back left of my head is unbearable and I can’t put my head down with the pain been very bad.

Will cosmetics interact with my HIV meds?

Is it ok to use cosmetic products e.g. moistures, face cleansers and bath/shower stuff. Which contain herbs such as witch hazel or evening primrose etc. Or can they still reduce the effectiveness of antiretrovials even though they are in small amounts and not supplement pills.
I’m currenty taking Truvada and efavirenz (Sustiva)

My CD4 count went down slightly, could this be due to my cold?

Is it normal for you CD4 count to rise up very slowly?

Can your CD4 count also drop if you get a small cold?

My CD4 count dropped from 104 in November to 98 now. Although I was sick last week and figured that could be why it dropped a bit.

I started treatment in Aug 2010, and my CD4 was at 68 and my viral load at 46,230. Currently my viral load has been undetectable, but my CD4 is rising very slowly.

My brother has lactic acidosis, which meds should he be taking?

My brother was on Atripla and developed lactic acidosis. He was started on 3 other meds but the lactic acidosis did not go away. He was told not to exercise any more. He decided since he was going to have it with either treatment he might as well take Atripla since it’s once a day, one pill. Is there any other meds that will help him and not make the lactic acidosis worse?

I’m really worried about my brother. He’s in prison now so I can’t get him to a HIV specialist.

Will my muscle mass come back?


I have been infected and positive for about 14 months. My numbers are good but I have decided to start treatment early rather than wait until they drop to the guideline level for commencing treatment.

My question is, although I have maintained my body weight since infection I have noticed that I have lost definition and muscle mass. I know that this could be due to anxiety and also as a result of dealing with the virus without medication. Once I start treatment and hopefully become undetectable will I be able to restore the defination and muscle mass that I had before being infected or is it lost forever?


I am recently infected should I get a STARHS test?

My history is below. Both tests were taken at the main hospital GUM clinic, where they tell me they test for p24 antigens and antibodies:

Nov 15 2010 – negative HIV test
Jan 20 2011 – positive HIV test, bloods taken a day later with viral load 5,000, CD4 over 400 with a 33% CD4. I am due to see the doctor for the 1st time next week.

I have 2 questions:

(1) Is it worth me asking the doctor for a STARHS test – I’m not quite sure why I would want this or what it would show?

(2) Considering my testing history, is it likely that my CD4 will increase anymore? I’m not sure if my results are good, bad or average or is it not possible to say yet?

I like taking one pill a day but have side effects, what should I do?

I have been taking meds now for 2 years and started taking Atripla 6 weeks ago. I’m now finding the side effects hard to cope with, especialy the mood swings and feeling anxious all the time. Will this get any easier in time? If so how long will it take? I don’t want to bother my clinic Doctor with this because he might take me off it and put me back on my old meds which were Combivir (AZT and 3TC) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) 6 tabs a day. For me just taking 1 tablet a day is wonderful after having to take 6 a day but the low days are hard to endure.

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