Most docs advise you not to start an STI until
you’ve been undetectable for a year, with CD4s above 350 for six
months. Expect a break to make CD4s drop and viral load rise—sharply
but briefly. San Francisco STI taker Timm Dobbins says, “Be comfortable
with fluctuating lab numbers—but be monitored.”
that STI success has little to do with which drugs are in your combo.
Two possible exceptions: Taking hydroxyurea, an immune-suppressing med
(used in some bold HIVers’ combos) for several weeks pre-STI may
lengthen the break; if 3TC is in your combo, dropping everything but
may work better than breaking from the whole regimen—maybe because
3TC-induced resistance puts extra pressure on HIV.
holiday, you’ll still have work to do. Jon Kaiser, MD, a San Francisco
AIDS specialist, says “aggressive support of the immune system: healthy
diet, vitamins and minerals, stress reduction and exercise” makes a
“dramatic difference” in STI results.
Above all, confer with Doc before, during and after to ensure a safe trip.