Q and A

Question

Can I take meds for pneumonia when using ARVs?

Hi, I have tested hiv+a week ago and did my viral load which was really high. I got tribuss right away and started taking it yesterday. I’m not worried about it working but I’m a little anxious about opportunistic infections and have just asked my doctor to prescribe drugs that I can use to protect myself from pneumonia. Is it safe to use these drugs altogether ?

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

How are you doing with your diagnosis? Are you able to get any support?

You said that your viral load is high – but didn’t include the number. This would help me.

Also, do you know what your CD4 count is? The risk for opportunistic infections is mainly when your CD4 count is under 200. The lower it is now, the higher your risk. However, now you are taking HIV treatment (called ART), your CD4 count should also get higher again.

You’ve asked if you can take medication that’s used to treat  pneumonia.

Have you been given a double antibiotic called sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim? It is also sometimes called Bactrim or Septrin? If you have, then yes this is safe to use with the Atrozia. If this isn’t what you’ve been given, what’s the name?

As you’re new to ARVs, you may find the following links helpful:

https://i-base.info/guides/starting

and

https://i-base.info/guides/1561

8 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Tee,

    Your CD4 count is doing really well as too is your viral load. It take up to three months before a viral load is undetectable.

  2. Tee

    Responding to the last comment..so I went to the local clinic to ope a file on the 3rd of June..12 days after being on a treatment..they took the blood tests so they can have their own record instead of the ones that I did privately..I got my results in the 10th and my viral load is still detectable at 682 and my Cd4 count was 310..I also tested negative for Tb so I was just given Odimune only and told to come back on the 8th. I still take my prophylaxis that the doctor prescribed.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Tee,

    Thank you. That sounds like a good plan. Please let us know how it goes.

    Best wishes, Roy

  4. Tee

    Thank you Roy, I started ART 4 days ago. So I will wait until I finish the week and then I will go for another blood test next week to see if the meds are working.

  5. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Tee,

    Please see the reply below. And yes, it’s a good idea to take purbac as prophylaxis if CD4 is under 200. And please don’t feel anxious. There’s lots of info on this site that will help you talk to your doctor about treatment.

    Please book for new blood tests to check on your viral load.

  6. Tee

    Hi Lisa, responding to the question above. My viral load is 46400 and I started treatment on the 23rd May 2020 and my CD4 count is 166. I have been given purbac adults to use as prophylaxis. I feel fine except the side effect I’m having because of Tribuss. And I keep on searching information about HIV when I’m not doing anything. Could this be anxiety?

  7. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Thifhe,

    Have you just started ART? ART can dramatically reduce viral load in the first days of treatment by over 90%. Please see this link to ART in Pictures. This shows how your CD4 count can recover on ART.

    You can ask your doctor to book another test for CD4 count and viral load to check that the meds are working well.

  8. Thifhe

    My CD4 count is 166 and my viral load is 46400 The doctor prescribed purbac tablets because that is to prevent me from pneumonia. I am using Tribuss for ART and that’s all. I am not sick or ill I just get drowsy and dizzy when I wake up in the morning and feel hungry all the times

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