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Understanding Your LabsUnderstanding Your Labs
          
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consistent good labs without meds
Mar 6, 2005

Hi,

Thank you very much for providing me with such great information. I have been using your postings to educate myself since my diagnosis.

I was diagnosed two years ago, but I am fairly certain that I have been infected since 2000. Since my diagnosis I have been getting lab work done every three months as my physician has advised. My partner was infected around the same time period. He started meds soon after our diagnosis since his T-cells were under 300 and his viral load was over 120,000.

My labs have been consistently good. My viral load has been consistently around 2000 (never over 5000) and my T-cells have been between 350 and 400.

My physician has stated that I am not a "long-term non-progressor" but am doing well. I am definitely not in a rush to start meds but am puzzled as to my classification. Is it true that I am not a long-term non-progressor? If I don't fall into that category, is this a common progression of the disease (to hover within these values on my labs)? Should I expect at one of my regular lab tests for my values to drop all of the sudden and have to start treatment?

Thanks again for all of your insightful information.

Sincerely,

In limbo

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Your doctor is technically correct. We measure long term nonprogression by time and immune function. It is usually defined as having no progression after being infected for 10 or more years. People in this category usually maintain CD4 counts > 500 and have undetectable viral loads or usually < 500 during the entire time. At this point, it looks like your immune system is controlling the infection well, but not completely. You may luck out and never need meds, or your immune system may poop out at some point in the future. We still don't know yet how to predict which way people will go.



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