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VL undetecable and High CD4 count

Apr 29, 2012

i am 54 years old. I was diagnosed HIV+ in March of 2005. I don't remeber the VL but the Dr said it was moderatly high. I started taking Combivir and Sustiva. after 3 months My viral load was undetectable and has been so since then. My CD4 count has never been under 1650 since I stared treatment, amy last CD4 count was 2065. About a year ago,, my dr reran the western block, which tested positive. and also another test Ithink they use on babies, which resulted in some of the "bands" reactive and some non-reactive. although I have trired to stay compliant, due to finacial crunches from time to time, I have been off my meds for a month at a time three or four times over the past couple of years. That doesn't seem to have effected my labs in any way. What might all of this mean? Don't get me wrong I am VERY grateful, just really curious, and wondering if I might stop the meds. I do have some minor side effects. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You currently have a CD4 count that is above the normal range (500-1500), which is not a bad or harmful thing. Given those numbers, your doctor likely wanted to check whether you truly had HIV infection or not, which by your description of the Western blot results and a positive viral load prior to starting HIV treatment, indicates that you do. There is no correct answer as to whether someone in your situation should just continue with meds or can safely stop them until they are needed. Given where your current CD4 count is, you could stop meds and see happens over the next 3-6 months. If your CD4 count remains consistent and your viral load remains undetectable or low, then you can likely stay off them longer. If however your viral load skyrockets and you begin to see your CD4 count drop, then you have your answer about restarting treatment.

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