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Jul 25, 2004


I was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 with a cd4 count of around 650 and an undetectable viral. I declined meds at that time and had my labs done every six months. My cd4 count stayed between 650 and 500 and my viral load was extremly low or undetectable during these years. In May 2004 my cd4 count dropped to 176 and the viral load was less than 600. I was started on Bactrim, Combivir & Sustiva. Labs were rechecked after 2 months and my cd4 count has dropped again to 117 but my viral load is now undetectable. Is the drop in t cells normal? Does the decrease in the viral load indicate the meds are working? Is there anything I can do to improve my immune system and hopefully raise my t cell count? Thank you so much for having this forum available to people in need. You and this site are a blessing to so many people.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It is a bit unusual for your CD4 count to plummet like that with such low viral loads. This either indicates a virulent strain of virus, or a viral strain that is not be quantitated accurately with the viral load assay that is being used. It is somewhat assuring that the viral load is now undetectable. However, I am concerned about the continued CD4 decline. Hopefully, once the viral load is undetectable for a longer period of time, you will begin to see your CD4 count increasing again.

diurnal variation in blood count
undetected viral loads when first infected

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