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What symptoms to look for? South Africa
Mar 5, 2000

Hi Doctor. I tested positive for HIV in September 1999, with my baselines as follows: CD4 = 321, 35% and VL = 327, now five months later my results are as follows: CD4 = 204, 31% and VL = 768. My doc said that I shouldn't panic as my percentages are still normal and my viral load is very low. He is not putting me on medication at this stage but says that if I show any symptoms I should start immediately. What symptoms should I be looking for? What opportunistic infections could I expect? My boyfriend (now ex) had TB before we found out we had HIV, but I have tested negatively for TB. Should I go for a hepatitis vaccine? I have swollen glands, but my doc says that's good as it means my immune system is still working and is "warning" me that there's a problem. I don't want to second guess my doc, but my life is in his hands. Your advice will be appreciated.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

If your % of CD4 cells is within the normal range and your viral loads are under 1000, that's very encouraging and your doctor is giving you reasonable advice. The first kinds of problems that people get from their HIV are usually minor, like thrush or vaginitis or shingles. These things happen way before the serious OIs, like PCP and CMV, are seen.


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