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cd8 counts in children
Nov 22, 2000

I am a 36year old woman that is Hiv+. I gave birth to a set of twins 6 months ago. During our last check up with our immunologist ( I think thats how you spell it) she had said that the kids Cd 8 cells where not as active as a child's would be for being exposed to an Hiv + pregnancy. Do you have any comments or information on cd8 cells and activity in baby born with Hiv + mother. Is there anything to be concerned about? Help!!!!

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

CD8+ T cells are a type of white blood cell that can specifically kill virus-infected cells and are thus thought to be an important defense against HIV. Increases in the total number and activation state of CD8+ T cells are often observed following HIV infection. However, other viral infections can also cause increases in CD8+ T cell numbers or activation state and these tests are not specifically indicative of HIV infection status. So, while I'm not sure what your immunologist was trying to tell you, I would not interpret the test results as saying anything definitive about the infection status of your babies.

To determine the infection status of infants born to HIV positive women, we recommend that the infants be serially evaluated beginning at birth using methods ("polymerase chain reaction" or "PCR") that can directly detect the virus in their white blood cells. If at least 2 of these tests performed after 2 months of age are negative, then the chance that the infant is infected is very small. I would urge you to review the results of these tests again with your care provider.


Katherine Luzuriaga, M.D.

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