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My Achy Breaky HAART

Oct 5, 2013

Hi Dr. Holodniy,

OK, I admit it, that was a pretty bad title pun...

A friend of mine was diagnosed back in June of this year with a viral load of 80,000 and a CD4 of 200 (sorry, I didn't get the cd4%). He was put on meds (Atripla) and within 4 weeks his viral load was down to 1,000 with a CD4 level of 340. We returned back to the doc's office for a 3 month checkup and found that his viral load is now undetectable and he has a CD4 above 500!

From reading other posts on here I can see there is tremendous variation in CD4 count increases, but do my friend's CD4 counts seem to be improving at a very glacial pace? Can we expect the CD4 counts to continue to rise at a more dramatic rate in the future? In the meantime, should we just be happy that his viral load is now undetectable?

Thank you!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The average CD4 count increase after one year is around 150. So the CD4 count increase seen is well within the average. The overall CD4 increase is hard to predict, as we usually don't know what someone's CD4 count was before HIV infection because we don't usually test for that in someone without HIV infection. The normal range of CD4 count in someone without HIV infection is 500-1500. The CD4 count can increase further although usually much slower over the next few months to years and is somewhat dependent on what the CD4 count was when someone was not HIV infected. In other words if your CD4 count was normally 600 before HIV infection, there would be no reason to suspect it would increase to 1000 after HIV treatment.

Not sure what to do
Why HIV?

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