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Understanding my Labs
Dec 25, 2011

Good day,

I am writing from South Africa and I am getting sort of frustrated with the answers I get when I try to understand my latest labs.

I have been HIV+ for more than 25 years now and for the last 15 years my CD$ count never reached 625, now all of a sudden it jumped into the normal range and all the doctors tell me is that I should be thankful.

My latest results are as follows (the normal range is in brackets):

CD4 927 (700 - 1100) previous result was 512 six months ago Total T Cell count 3061 (1100 - 1700) previously 2012 CD8 2035 (500 - 900) - have not been done in years CD4:CD8 0.46 (1.0 - 1.5)

I am overjoyed that my CD4 count is now in the normal range, but why would it suddenly increase so much in a six month period and after battling to get it over 600 for more than 15 years.

The rest of the labs is apparently "normal" for an HIV+ person and according to the doctors I should not be concerned about it.

My GP, unbelievably, does not understand the results either and every time I go for blood tests I need to contact a Mens Health clinic some distance away for an explanation of the results.

Even in a city like Cape Town, which is already some distance away, it is extremely difficult to find a HIV clinician that are prepared to take on new patients at the rates that my medical insurance is prepared to pay.

In South Africa certain rates are fixed for medical insurance and should doctors charge more than the national rate the patient has to pay the difference and when specialist charge more than 4 times the national rate it becomes an extremely expensive situation.

Just to make an appointment with an HIV Clinician to help me understand my labs better will set me back a minimum of R750 for an 15 min appointment and my medical insurance only cover around R250.

For the past 15 years I have had to make do with what I could learn from the internet, but I just cannot seem to get to a good reason as to why my CD4 count suddenly increased by so much.

Please help with some info.

IB South Africa

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You don't indicate whether you are on HIV treatment and what your viral load, or CD4% is or their trend over time. It looks like your total t lymphocyte count has increased, which is why you are seeing a CD4 increase. But I suspect your CD4% has not changed, which then means that this is likely a transitory and not permanent increase. If the CD4% has increased accordingly then this could represent a real increase.



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