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Viral Load Isn't Everything?

Feb 25, 2006

I was kindof floored when this was related to me, so I didn't quite catch on when the Dr. told me; so I'm hoping you can re-explain it to me! I had been deluded into thinking that as long as I was <50 I was in the pink. My first viral load was 54, then 53, then 53, then 51, then <50 for about 7 years now. But suddenly, my CD4 has gone below 325, and everyone's in an uproar again. Can you explain why I'm bordering on being in trouble when I have no detectable viral load? (Though of course I appreciate that <50 doesn't mean zero). My last CD4s were 211, 276, and 230. I've been + for 20 years, and have never been treated.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I am not sure I would be part of the uproar. The key to your story is longevity and 20 years of infection. People may be reacting to a trend, recognizing that serious infections could develop if your CD4 counts dip below 200-250, regardless of whether your viral load is undetectable.

absolute lymphocytes 587
cd4 percentage

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