|What do the results mean?
Aug 28, 2005
Hi Doc and thank you for this forum.
My wife and I have recently decided to adopt a child of 3 years old with HIV Aids (25???). All this terminology and lingo is quite overwhelming, however we need to learn and understand as much as possible about this disease. We love this child very much and want to give him the best possible future.
We will obviously discuss things in more detail with his doctor at his next visit - I just want to be as prepared as possible and ask all the correct questions. He currently goes to a government/state doctor which will change. As soon as the adoption goes through we will take him to a private doctor. Any suggestions on a good HIV Aids doc in Durban - South Africa?
Please explain what the terms, CD4 count, viral load and percentage mean? What should they be and what trends should we be looking out for?
Your answers to these questions will certainly help us to understand this terrible disease a little better and give us the tools to treat our child to the best of our ability.
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
I have no recommendations for doctors in SA. The 3 terms are names for lab tests we commonly measure when seeing patients with HIV infection. CD4 count and percentage is the main cell type infected by HIV and we use the number to assess how advanced the disease is or how good treatment is working. A normal CD4 count is much higher in children than adults. The normal range for a 3 year old is between about 1000- 2800 and the percentage is 35-50%. I assume the 25 refers to 25% and would indicate some immune system impairment from HIV infection. Viral load measures how much HIV is in a unit of blood. It is usually expressed as copies/mL.
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