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Stress lowered my CD 4 cells?
Mar 6, 2002

Dear Doc. Bob

Its Giordi, I hope You remember my terror and fear (still I have) First off all I wish You are pretty well and in a very good shape. I undertook another blood examination, which came: (CD4+CD3+ =35/); (CD8+CD3+ =48) (CD3+ TOTAL= 84) (CD4+CD8+ = 0 what it means ? ) (CD8+CD38+ = 30) (CD8+CD38+CD8 = 57) (WBC = 4.90 X10) (LYMPHOCYTES = 39.7) (LYMPHOCYTES V. ABSOLUTE = 1813 /mmc. CD4 V. ABSOLUTE 635 /mmc. VL. 45'000.(copy RNA) Dear Doc. Bob the precedent and the first examination I had CD4 = 413 /mmc. LYMPHOCYTES 23.8 and VL 35'000 (copy RNA) It seems that the terrible fear I had, influenced a big deal in CD4+ values. Or if there is non influence of stress (AND FEAR OF DEATH) Its possible after 2,5 years after exposure I am still suffering ARS? Or are knowing lab. errors? I have begin to sleep well (with pills) only some days ago, can I have another better CD4+ next examination? I know Dear Doc. that is foolish questions I know excuse me please. Always in good shape and fine humor dear Doc. Best regards and lets try rowing together in the same boat as far and as long possible in good health. May GOD help all Us. Giordi

Response from Dr. Frascino

Buon Giorno Giordi!

Benvenuto di nuovo al foro!

Congratulations on your most recent laboratory results. Your CD4+ cells increased significantly form 413 to 635! That's excellent! Your viral load stayed about the same - 45,000 to 35,000. That is not a significant change.

Don't worry about the "CD4+ CD8+" number being 0. This is just a technical point and has to do with how the machine counts your T-cells. CD4+ cells are "helper" cells and CD8+ cells are called "suppressor" cells. CD4+ CD8+ means the machine reading your test sees the cells as having characteristics (surface markers) of both CD4 and CD8 cells. Absolutely nothing to worry about!

Yes, excessive stress/anxiety is not good for the immune system and can lower your counts. I'm glad you are sleeping better and I hope with these great numbers, you'll also begin to worry less. No, I don't think you are still having ARS effects if you were infected 2.5 years ago. Lab error? That's always a possibility, but unlikely. Could your results get even better next time? Yes, it's possible. It's also possible they may be a bit worse. The important thing to realize is that HIV is a very, very slow illness. Statistically, people who are not on medications drop about 70-80 CD4+ cells per year (on average). When potent combination medications are started, the CD4+ count can increase significantly if the medications are taken as directed and knock the viral load down to undetectable. As I recall, you are not on any medication for HIV yet. If that's the case, based on your laboratory tests so far, you may not even need to consider starting medications for several years!

Yes, Giordi, I'm in reasonably good shape. And remember, I was infected over 10 years ago!

I'm very pleased you are doing so well, Giordi. I'll bet 10 years from now, you'll still be doing just fine and you and I will both be able to look back and smile as we remember how scared and terrifying these first few months were. I'm convinced you and I, like all good Italians, will probably die of old age, rather than HIV! Remember Giordi, God helps those who help themselves. So, keep working on decreasing your stress, focusing on your good health, and how wonderful it is to be Italian!

Stay well. Ciao!

Dr. Bob


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