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High CD8 Count and Low RBC Count
Mar 1, 2003

Background - I was diagnosed 3/2002 after coming down with shingles, CD4 was 519, VL was 85000, began Trizivir. I'm focused on the partnership with my HIV specialist, nutrition, exercise, and on taking my meds. Within 3 months VL was undetectable. VL continues to be undetectable. Currently, CD4 is 890, CD8 is 1113, and my RBC is 3.76.

Question #1) - Why is the CD8 count so high? If I'm undetectable, are there really that many infected CD4 cells that need "killing"?

Question #2) - Is there a chance that my reversed CD4:CD8 will reverse itself back?

Question #3) - Is there anything I can do to help my RBC?

Signed - A Thankful UCLA CARE Clinic Patient

Response from Dr. Holodniy

1. A high CD8 count is a natural response to HIV infection. This is usually the result of lots of cytotoxic CD8 cells that are made in response to the infection. The blood plasma viral load is a good indicator that the meds are working but it does not necessarily reflect the total body burden of HIV, where > 90% is inside cells in different organs. 2. Unlikely, but possible, that your ratio will get back to > 1. But in the grand scheme of things probably not necessary. 3. Your slightly low RBC count is probably a result of the AZT in the trizivir.



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