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What can cause low CD4 AND low viral count? New dx

Dec 23, 2001

My brother has just been diagnosed with HIV. His CD4 count is 50, which I understand is low. His viral count is 20,000, which I understand is not too high. He had a shingles infection three months ago but other than that he has been healthy. This came as a surprise diagnosis. Can shingles lower the CD4 levels? How can his CD4 level have dropped so low without having critically high viral counts? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

One of the great mysteries is how this virus affects everyone differently. Many people can have advanced disease and not have symptoms and have relatively low viral loads. Part of this may be because the virus has burned out the immune system (killed alot of CD4 cells) and therefore the virus doesn't produce as much as when there were more CD4 cells. An episode of shingles can lower CD4 counts, and increase viral load as well. MH

viral load / CD4
Accurate PCR test

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