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Please answer me this time!!!

Dec 21, 2003

Before testing HIV+ I had been getting tested every 6 month or so. All of my tests were negative up until Dec. 1999. My next test was in Mar. 2002 and it was positive. I was too afraid to see a doctor at the time and finally was seen in May 2003. My 1st results were VL 75,000 CD4 280 in May 2003 (no meds), Sept. 2003 VL 85,000 CD4 212. After the Sept. 2003 results I started meds and in 3 weeks VL was 153 and CD4 565. Here's my question, am I what you call a fast progressor? I didnt think my CD4 would be so low after having the virus for no more than 3 years. Does this mean that I won't live as long as others? Please answer me this time, I have a 10 year old son to take care of and I'm really worried.

Thanks worried MOM

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Dear Mom, since we don't know what your numbers were the previous year, or what your CD4 count was prior to infection, it is a bit hard to connect the dots. Your viral load results are very consistent between the two time points. There is no real difference between 75 and 85,000. Viral loads can vary up to 3 times up or down. Although your CD4 count is lower, you also need to keep track of the CD4 percentage which is a more stable number over time. CD4 counts can fluctuate with time of day, stress, other ongoing illnesses, etc. At this point, although your numbers were somewhat on the low side for having an infection for a year and half, it doesn't much matter anymore whether you would have been a prgressor or not because your response has been great, and your immune system is now back essentially in the normal range.

Recent dramatic VL increase after 5 years meds free.
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