|CD4 and Viral Load
Oct 2, 2005
I recently tested POZ after a random check-up. I'm a 40 yr. old WM. My first test showed a CD4 count of 375 and viral count of 57K. My next test (4 weeks later) was 345 and 10K. Is body using up CD4 cells to fight HIV; is this why my viral count was lower? Does smoking cigarettes (my vice) reduce CD4 levels? Thank you!!!
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
Those numbers (both CD4 and viral load) are actually within assay variability. Another number you need to follow is the CD4 percent. I suspect that although the absolute CD4 count looks slightly lower, the percent has remained the same. In the presence of ongoing HIV replication (as measured by a detectable plasma viral load), new CD4 cells are becoming infected and then dying, leading to a decrease in CD4 count. Another set of numbers or two will determine how soon you will need HIV treatment.
Smoking per se does not reduce CD4 count, but it's always a good idea to quit and preserve lung function. You'd also reduce the risk of lung infection complications with HIV infection.
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