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Confusing Labs
Jan 21, 2006

Please help me understand my lab results! Infected July 04, Poz Test Sept 04 First Labs Jan 05 CD4: 722 VL:12,000 VL MEASURE: 10 to the power of 4.09 CD4 to CD8 ratio 0.6 Second Labs May 05 CD4: 512 VL 18,000 VL MEASURE: 10 to the power of 4.26 CD4 to CD8 ratio 0.7 Third Labs Sept 05 CD4 522 VL 38,785 VL MEASURE 10 to the power of 4.6 CD4 to CD8 Ratio 0.4

What does VL MEASURE to the power of mean? Is the CD4 to CD8 ratio also your CD percent so 0.4 is 40%?

A friend who is POZ saw my results and said I should be worried about it falling to 0.4 and my VL almost tripling from May to Sept.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

10 to the power of means the logrithmic form of the absolute copy number. In other words a viral load of 12,000 is the same a log10 4.09. The ratio is not the percent. The ratio is the number of CD4 cells divided by the number of CD8 cells. I am not concerned about your numbers. The ratio has decreased because your CD8 count has probably increased, which is actually a good thing. Your CD8 cells are the main cells that fight the virus. That increase in viral load is boarderline significant. Because the assay is not perfect, we usually look for a change of 3 times a value or greater to be significant.



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