Viewer Question:I am a 23 year old male and have been HIV+ for 2 years. I feel fine and still don't have any symptoms. Do I need to start antiretroviral therapy yet?
Doctor's Response:Recommendations as to when antiretroviral therapy should be started are forever changing. Most recently, the guidelines have been modified to support delaying therapy in selected patients with high CD4 cell number and/or low viral loads. Details as to what the recommendations are and the rationale for the changes are outlined in my March 2001 Doctor's Column. In summary, the current guidelines from the US Department of Health and Human Services suggest therapy be considered for those individuals:
These are simply guidelines and must be individualized after detailed discussion with an experienced HIV-treating clinician. More important than any set of guidelines is the requirement that patients be fully committed to taking the treatment. Furthermore, patients need to work closely with their healthcare providers to minimize side-effects and optimize the consistent taking of the medications.
Thank you for your question.
Last Editorial Review: 10/18/2001 9:17:00 AM