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Am I a rapid progressor?
Feb 7, 2000

I'm 95% certain I was infected in June, 1999, although my last negative test was in mid-1997, so there's some uncertainty there. My CD4 count in December of 1999 was 312, which freaked me out. One friend said not to worry, CD4 counts go up and down, and don't mean much. Is that true. This friend also said he had naturally low CD4 counts (he was a participant in the UCLA long-term study). How common is that? My doctor didn't test my viral load, so I don't know what that is. I'm very worried I'm a rapid progressor. I don't have any signs, no fatigue, just a cold that seems to linger. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

It's the percent CD4, not the number (which varies all day long depending on your white blood cell count), that is a less variable and therefore more reliable number. Your percent may be higher than your total count indicates. Without a number of tests over time, it's impossible to know how fast or slow your disease is progressing. You do need a viral load test, so that you can begin to make important decisions about when to start treatment.

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