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What's my position?

Jun 28, 2009

Hi, my latest results 2 months ago were CD4 735, 26%, VL 56,000 and I am not on meds. I started with some pain on my back about a week ago and went to my doctor about it 3 days later. He diagnosed it as shingles as a rash had started to appear. He gave me Famvir as a preventative for the pain etc but it has gone much worse - very sore blisters and it looks nasty to me and it has spread down my whole arm. My question is, is it due to my immune system being weakend? despite my fairly good numbers or am I just unlucky. I tick the box on age because I am only 35. I am in any more danger with this virus than someone without HIV and will this affect my overall CD4 do you think? Thank you very much.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The progression is likely due to bad luck and some immune suppression. Although your CD4 count is in the normal range, your CD4% is already somewhat decreased. You likely acquired the shingles virus (chicken pox virus) as a child and it will remain in you forever. You will recover from this episode, but could get another episode of shingles if your immune system declines significantly. An outbreak such as this can transiently increase the viral load and/or decrease the CD4 count/percent.

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