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CD4 cell lifespan with and without treatment

Sep 26, 2010

Dear Dr. I'm just curious about the lifespan of a cd4 cell in a person who is hiv negative and a person who is hiv positive with and without treatment. What's the average # of days these cells can live?; and, is there a difference between an hiv negative person and an hiv positive taking meds who is undetectable? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

This is a hard question to answer. Some CD4 cells only survive a few days and some potentially months to years, as CD4 cells are not uniform in nature and represent a family of subtypes. HIV infection in the absence of treatment will accelerate the death of many of these cells. HIV treatment will stop most of the accelerated destruction, but some CD4 cells that are infected with HIV and where HIV is not actively replicating can still be very long lived.

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