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Newly diagnosed/first labs
Feb 18, 2006

Hi! My initial experience since being diagnosed HIV+ Jan. 9 has been less than informative and I have a question about my numbers. My first lab results showed CD4 count of 455 and a CD4 percent of 16%. My CD8 count was 1998 with a percent of 69% my ratio was .23. My viral load was 140,000 with a LOGCOPIES of 5.15. I was concerned about the low CD4% and the high VL. I have had an ongoing cough for 3 months but a chest X-Ray the end of December was clear. I've had no consultation with the doctor. It was basically they drew the blood on my initial visit, said I could get a copy of the results in about two weeks, and they would see me in six weeks. My last HIV test was 5 years ago and it was negative. I started having lymph node swelling in late November. The labs were drawn Jan 17. Are these results something to be overly concerned with? Could the high VL be the result of being infected within the last 5 or 6 months? Do the numbers provide any other insight or do I mainly need to wait and see what the next labs produce? Thanks!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Let's see if we can dissect this all. Your CD8 count is markedly elevated in response to HIV infection and that is a good thing. That drives your ratio down. CD8 cells are the main cell that fights HIV infection. Although it is possible that you are still in the acute infection period, my suspicion is that given the CD8 elevation you have been infected for a while. Your CD4 count is in good shape, but the percentage is somewhat depressed for someone with a count of 450. The percentage is a more stable number over time, whereas the CD4 absolute count can fluctuate more (be affected by other infections, vaccinations, stress). You are in no danger of developing serious infections associated with HIV infection, given where your current CD4 count. Although your viral load is high, there is no urgency to start treatment immediately. You need a few more points on the line to see where the trend in these numbers is heading.



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