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Which is more important?

Mar 28, 2004

After being diagnosed with HIV almost two years ago with a CD4 count of 34, my CD4 count, after starting treatment, went as high as 154. My most recent lab was 121. The last 3 labs have showed a decrease in my CD4 count from my high of 154. The viral load has been undetectable in all my labs. My doctor says he's pleased the viral load has been staying undetectable. In your opinion, is the viral load more a concern of doctors than CD4 count? I'm currently on Viread,Sustiva and Epivir. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The important short term goal is achieving an undetectable viral load. You need to shut off the virus and for a sufficient time in order for the immune system to recover. The lower your CD4 count when starting treatment, the slower the recovery in general. Sustaining a CD4 count increase becomes important in preventing opportunistic infections from developing. I agree with your doctor's observation and would predict that your CD4 count will slowly increase over time.

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