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Shingles and TCell

Feb 12, 2006

A friend of mine who is HIV positive stated that he got the Shingles on his forehead about 5 or 6 years back before he knew he was HIV positive and when he was in his mid 40's. He stated that since he has known about his HIV status (about 2 years) he has never been below 650 TCells which we both thought was a very healthy count. He is currently undetectable. His TCell count is back in the 800's where it started at his dx. His % and VL werent that bad to begin with according to his doctor. He started on Combivir when the TCells hit the 650 mark.

Our question is: Is it possible that he could have been positive 5 or 6 years ago but just remained at such healthy counts? From all we have read, Shingles seems to be most common in people with less then 500 TCell and older people. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Without a prior HIV test result, it is difficult to estimate how long infection has been present. Yes, shingles can be a marker for underlying immune suppression that might occur with HIV infection or increased age, but there are clearly people in their mid 40s without HIV infection who get shingles.

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