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Effects of low T-Cells
Aug 7, 2009

I was diagnosed as HIV+ in 1991 and have been fairly healthy. Currently, I'm on Viramune and Combivir. My t-cells for the past several years, have slowly been decreasing, and now are in the low 200's. My doctor is contemplating changing my medication, however since my viral load is so low, it may be impossible to detect the particular strain of the virus, I have.

My real question, I suppose, can low t-cells actually cause fatigue? And what other symptoms may manifest?

I know the low count, opens my body up to opportunistic diseases/viruses....but truly I'm concerned abuot the symptoms of the low t-cell count.

Thank you Dr. Frascino, for your time and answer.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Low T-cells (CD4 cells) per se do not cause fatigue. You are correct that low CD4s do increase the risk for opportunistic infections and malignancies.

There are an impressive number of underlying conditions that can contribute to HIV-associated fatigue. Take a read through the archives of this forum. We have a chapter devoted to causes of HIV-associated fatigue. Make a list of the common and not-so-common causes and discuss these with your HIV physician specialist.

Completely separate from the fatigue issue, I agree it's time for you to change your antiretroviral regimen. If your absolute CD4 count dips to 200, you'll also need Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob


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