Triumphant but Confusing Lab Results
Jun 16, 2013
Hello Doctor, I hope you are well. As of march of this year I was diagnosed with AIDS. My CD4 count was a rather measly 76 and my viral load at 33000. After being on Truvada, Isentress and some prophylactic antibiotics my second set of lab work on blood work taken in June was really invigorating. My CD4 count shot up to 468 and my viral load plummeted to 274. I maintained 100% adherence, continued to stick to a strict high protein diet and incorporate resistance training throughout the week. I must say the forums have also been invaluable in terms of deciphering lab results and maintaining high spirits. Today, however I got results from blood work done on June 7 (which is really fast) but still made me a wee bit confused. First the good news. As of last week's test I am now virally undetectable with a count of 20 (don't worry I'm still 100% adherent and would like it to even get lower if possible) but my cd4 count dropped to 368. After researching a lot of previous questions I thought to ask my doctor about my cd4% and my doctor said my percentage was at 25% and my helper cell suppression rate was at .5% -- all other work done were good including: GI, kidney and liver function. My question is can you help decipher what my cd4% means in relation to this dip of 100 in my absolute cd4 count and also explain what the helper suppression rate indicates/ means? My doctor said not to worry and i trust her opinion immensely but rather than continuing researching until my next follow up in October I thought to ask you. Thank you for any insight you can offer.
Response from Dr. Holodniy
One piece of information that is missing is what was the CD4 percent prior to starting HIV treatment and what was it with the CD4 count of 468? At this point, I would be more concerned with the viral load result, which is fabulous, than your CD4 count/percent. The CD4 count is more variable and the CD4% is a more stable. Your current CD4% is also excellent, so I don't think I would worry too much about the CD4 count decline, as long as your viral load remains undetectable and your Cd4% is stable.
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