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Viral load undetectable, CD4 count low

Dec 21, 2003

Dear Dr. Holodniy,

I was diagnosed hiv+ in 2001 began meds in Dec. of 2002. My VL was 350,000 mm/cu. and CD4 was 90. Within 3 months my viral load was undetectable and my CD4 peaked at 259. My VL remains undetectable however my Cd4 count remains in the 250 range. I have very few side affects and in general feel ok. I'm currently on reyataz, norvir, epivir and viread. My doctor says that I've had a wonderful response to the meds after only one year. However the low CD4 count worries me. I've heard about IL2 for increasing CD4 counts; what do you think?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The lower your CD4 count is when you start, the less the increase will be. Although not a spectacular increase, your increase is very consistent with what your starting CD4 count was. IL-2 should always be used with caution and only in those with undetectable viral loads. It certainly will increase your CD4 count, but side effects (flu like symptoms, etc) can limit it's utility.

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