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Acute Phase CD4

Jul 14, 2002

A good friend of mine is dealing with the phychological impact of recently finding that he is HIV positive. Based on his history, he feels certain that he was infected 7 months ago (he was diagnosed 2 months ago when being treated for a wound that wouldn't heal). His CD4 count is 275, which I understand is more consistent with advanced HIV infection. I would like to advise him, but want to make sure that my understanding is correct. What is the likelihood that the CD4 count could be that low with such a recent infection? And, if it is reasonably possible, how likely is it? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

There are basically 3 possibilities. This person was infected a few years ago and so the timing is wrong. This person is still in the acute infection period, where we see CD4 counts drift to sometimes quite low levels and return back up to some level around 500. 7 months is on the long side for this. Or lastly, a more virulent form of the virus was indeed transmitted within the last year and is killing CD4 cells at a faster rate (so-called syncytium-inducing, SI, virus).

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