The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Understanding Your LabsUnderstanding Your Labs
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Drop in CDR Count

Apr 6, 2008

Recently a writer asked about the degree of concern he/she should have regarding a substantial drop in CD4 count over a 3 month period (700 to 420).

The answer was:

"Another important number to follow is the CD4 percent. It is a more stable number over time. If the CD4 percent has not changed, then the change in CD4 count may not be significant. If the CD4 percent has decreased by 3-5% or more, then that decline, along with the viral load increase is significant and treatment may be warranted. The decision to start is not urgent. Another set of numbers will tell you where the trend is going."

My question is: percentage of what? The actual amount dropped (300) relative to the original number (700)? I presume that is what you meant.

Even at that, it doesn't specifically address his question. His decrease is about 40%. Given that you said that a decrease of 3-5% is significant, and may warrant treatment, wouldn't this be extremely alarming?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It doesn't work that way. You can't look at the absolute count change as a change in the CD4 percent. There can be dramatic changes in absolute CD4 counts and yet the CD4 percents not change by much. The CD4 percent is a reflection of the total lymphocyte count. If the total white blood cell (WBC) count or total lymphocyte count changes significantly, so will the absolute CD4 count, but yet the CD4 percent may not change at all.

viral load
viral load interpretation

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint