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What's a normal CD4?

Feb 5, 2005

Hi, thanks in advance for shedding some light. I sero converted Jan 2001 with an inital lab result of VL=250 and a CD4=440.

Very gradual changes over the next 2+ years, so by June 2003, VL=5400 and CD4=230. This caused my doc to be concerned, so we stepped up the lab tests to monitor more frequently. When tests came back in July 2003 VL=4600 and CD4=190, we retested in Sept 2003 with VL=2200 and CD4=190. Then I started Sustiva + Combivir that month, and VL dropped to Undetectable, and CD4s=210.

So, I've been on Sustiva + Combivir for 16 months now. VL=undetectable since starting meds, and CD4s steadily climbing and holding at 450.

I've heard of people with CD4 counts in the 1000+ range. I think I'm responding well to meds, with no bothersome side effects, and no health problems. Why is my CD4 so mediocre? Is CD4 just a number? Am I obsessing over a relative number, or should I be worried about something? (resistence, underlying health probs, etc). My doc says that I'm doing fine, that people have different baseline CD4 counts, and since we didn't know my pre-seroconversion CD4 count, I can't really determine if its "normal" or not. What do you think?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I agree with your doctor. The normal range for CD4 counts in uninfected people is around 500-1500. That's quite a spread. Since in almost all people we don't know what their CD4 count was before becoming infected, we don't know how high they might get.

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