Will cocaine stop my HIV medications working?
I was infected in February 07 and started treatment in November 07, on Sustiva and Truvada. I went undetectable within 4 weeks. Would like to know if taking cocaine once a month or less will have any effect on my meds working?
Years ago, a study reported that, in a test tube, HIV multiplies more quickly when cocaine is present. These findings haven’t been reported in human studies though (largely because of the difficulties of studying drugs that are illegal).
Although there are no drug interactions between ‘coke’ and HIV drugs, street drugs are rarely pure cocaine, and so there could be an interaction with whatever the ‘coke’ has been cut with.
In general, the main caution from taking ‘coke’ is that if you are partying, you need to remember to take your meds on time. Regularly missing a dose can lead to resistance.
As with some other recreational drugs, ‘coke’ probably doesn’t help your immune system, but once a month may also be unlikely to have any long-term damage in relation to HIV.
However, one study reported a higher risk of heart disease (a risk from cocaine) in people who used ‘coke’ and who were HIV-positive.
Other studies have indicated that cocaine can increase HIV activity in the brain and may lead to faster progression of HIV or HIV-related dementia.
The risk of using ‘coke’ are also pretty well known, including it’s side effects, and so moderaction and caution are also pretty good advice.