|Significance of CD4/CD8 Ratio Trends
Dec 29, 2000
I have been on several medication combos during the past ten years. Most of what I have heard or read about CD8% is that it is much less useful an indicator of HIV infection activity than CD4%. However, I noticed that my CD4/CD8 ratio seemed to improve for a year or two on the most durable combos. On the most successful combo, my ratio went from 0.6 to 1.0 for about a year due to a 5% increase in CD4% but a much greater decrease in CD8%. It seems to me that the T8 cells might need to be more plentiful and work harder when there is a more active infection of T4 cells and increased risk of drug resistance developing. Do you have any opinions about what increasing (or decreasing) percentages of CD8 cells might mean over several months time even if CD4% or viral load appear to not have changed as much or as quickly?
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
I can tell you that in clinical practice, I rarely use the CD8 number or CD4/CD8 ratio to guide treatment management decisions. The CD8 number clearly increases with active infection. This response is important in the containment of HIV replication. The CD8 number usually goes down to some degree when treatment starts. I can't tell you what the long term change in CD8 number is.
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