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Frist diagnosed, low CD4, low VL
Jan 11, 2009

I was diagnosed few month ago and only recently had labs done because I was quite sure it's a new infection. (I had blood test just a year ago, not specific for HIV but should have included it). My CD4 was 210 and VL 6000. My doctor says I must have been infected for many years. Is there an explanation for low CD4 with low viral load? Is there any estimated range for the amount of time I could have been infected. From my understanding CD4 shows I could have been infected a long time, but shouldn't I have also higher VL?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Without a previously known HIV test that was negative, it is hard to gauge how long you may have been infected. One missing lab result here is the CD4%. If the CD4% is around 15% then this indicates the absolute CD4 count of 210 is real and infection is likely to have occurred a longer time ago. On the other hand if the CD4% is 20% or greater, than that CD4 count is probably artificially low for what ever reason and infection could be more recent. Unless you were acutely infected (within the last few months), where the viral load would be very high, you could have missed that window and now your viral load reflects an equilibrium between your immune system and the virus. There is no exact correlation between viral load and CD4 count. Another set of numbers will determine if this is where you are. If so, HIV treatment would be indicated.



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