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Super High VL & low CD4, thought recently contracted
Aug 16, 2009

After finding out I contracted HIV, I thought about who I might have received it from and traced it back to probably October of 2006. When I received my first numbers back in March 2008 (16 months later), I got a viral load of over 6 million and a CD4 count of 144.

It just doesn't seem possible to have gotten it at any other time before - I know usually getting these kinds of numbers means I contracted many years before, but I've only been sexually active for less than 5 years.

Needless to say, I began medication and became undetectable with a 500+ CD4 within 8 months. Just a curiousity.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You are correct in that most cases with those kinds of initial numbers reflect infection for a long time. These kinds of numbers can also reflect acute infection (very high viral loads and significantly reduced CD4 counts), but your timing of the test relative to when infection may have occurred doesn't make that plausible. Some times the viral strain that one receives is particularly virulent and chews up CD4 cells at a faster rate. Finally, it could be your underlying genetics that don't allow for effective control of the virus. This is less well understood although there are mutations is some genes that appear to predict whether someone will progress faster than someone else.



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