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why the discrepancy in cd4 counts?
Feb 14, 2001

I am 43 and generally in good health - pos for 14 years, on meds 3 years, started with vl of 200,000 and cd4 of 190. Initially treated with triple drug therapy and have been >50 vl/non-detectable since. Im puzzled because my cd4 count has been as high as 890 and recently as low as 290. My Doctor said that it was just a blip and not to be concerned, but also added that my counts vary dramatically. I recently had bloodwork done on the same day within a couple hours apart and sent to different labs to understand if different labs read differently... results were cd4 540, and cd4 750 from each respective lab. The previous test (3 months prior) my cd4 count was 290 from the lab that now gave me results of 750. My doctor suggests it is very strange, but says not to worry. Am I unusual or does this happen often? Is testing reliable? Any suggestions? By the way, I cant express in words how much I appreciate your work online. Thank you so much for your time and care!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Those kinds of swings are unusually high. There is great variation in the absolute CD4 numbers obtained between laboratories. Depending on the contracts your health providers have with laboratories, your counts could be done at different labs between your visits and you wouldn't know it. I would never react to one or two values, particularly if your viral load is staying <50. MH



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