|unsure about my lab tests
Oct 8, 2005
Totally unexpectedly, I tested positive for HIV two weeks ago. I have always practiced incredibly safe sex (no anal sex, no passive oral ejaculations), and barely ever entered into any "gray zones." My boyfriend (we have been monogamous for over 5 years) tested negative after I found out. Given my history, I assume that I have been infected for 6-8 years.
At this point, I have had two tests. The first one came out positive on both ELISA and Western Blot, the second one came out positive on ELISA, Western Blot, and PRC. My bloodwork (done on little sleep and under high anxiety) came out like this: 365 CD4 cells, 352 CD8 cells, total lymphocytes 1350, percentage of CD4 cells to total lymphocytes 30%, ratio of CD4/CD8 cells 1,03. All other values (RBC, Hb, etc.) fall within the normal range, except that total WBC may be somewhat low (3920). I do not have the results on my viral load test yet.
I took this information into a doctor who is a leading European specialist on HIV (over 20 years experience, involved in clinical treatment development), and he was quite perplexed that I still had more CD4 than CD8 cells, that my percentage of CD4 cells was good, and he even mentioned the possibility that my tests were false positive.
My questions are: how does this sound to you? Are my numbers good, bad, or neutral? Does a relatively low number of WBC or total lymphocytes have any significance? Is there any chance in heaven that my tests were false positive?
Meanwhile, I wait in high anxiety and near panic for the results of my viral load test.
I would be very grateful for your response.
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
Unless you have had serial HIV tests along the way, it is hard to know how long you have ben infected. You are correct that the numbers are low given the percentages and are a reflection of the low lymphocyte and total white blood cells counts. Early in the course of infection, one does not see the expansion of CD8 cells and destruction of CD4 cells, so it is entirely plausible and in fact seen that the ratio might not tip.
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