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cd4, viral load and time
Oct 13, 2000

My bf is hiv +, diagnosed 2/2000. He became infected in late '98 or early '99. Yesterday he received his most recent test results....cd4 370, vl 50,000. He will begin treatment next month (he's waiting the results of is resistance testing). My questions: Is this a very rapid progression for a person infected in the last 1 1/2 years? (his cd4 was 450, vl 30,000 in Feb). Also, he had a cold when the test was done, could this alter his numbers? Finally, what is the average expected increase for cd4 when on antiviral meds?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

If he has not been on HIV meds and was infected a year or more ago, then resistance testing will only show virus that has no resistance. Thus, the test may not give the information that is sought. Although it seems like a lot, there is really no difference between a viral load of 50,000 and 30,000. WE usually look for a 3 fold (3 times) difference to be significant. The CD4 count looks much lower, but if the percentage of CD4 cells is within a percent or two, there has really been no change. A cold or flu bug could affect both numbers. Hard to know whether this is true progression or not. With treatment, I would expect his viral load to go to < 50 within a few months and the CD4 count to rise by 100-150.

MH



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