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Going on 7 years in April being diagnosed with HIV (was infected in late 2006)
Oct 20, 2013

Hello Doctor-

When I first was diagnosed with HIV my viral load was in the low 2000 and my CD4 count was in the 900. I completely neglected going to the doctor due to fear and stigma of someone seeing me in the clinic. Fast forward to February of this year, my CD4 count was 512 at 28% then dropped 3 months later to a CD4 count of 510 at 29% with a viral load of 125 copies per ml. I just got results today from my last labs because I've gotten into a relationship with another HIV positive individual in meds. He went to the doctor and had his labs done. All he said was that they were fine but hinted to not taking his meds regularly (missing a day and taking it at different times). He's said he wasn't resistant to any meds. We've had unprotected sex a few times (no ejaculation), and I'm afraid that I may catch the strain that he has. My labs came back. My CD4 is still stable around 28 percent, my viral load has increased to 1870 (ish it's in the 1800), and my CD4 count is now at 815. What does this mean? I am not on Meds and am concerned that I may have compromised my health. I'm also not taking my vitamins as regularly as I did before and have had changes to my diet and started smoking marijuana (which I didn't do before). I'm in a bit of panic but not for sure what my labs mean. I have a follow up appointment with my doctor and I'm pretty sure she's going to recommend taking meds as my doctor has stated before, primarily because of the move towards early treatment. I'm not ready to commit to a regimen of meds for life, and I don't want to start taking them until I absolutely have to (CD4 below 500). Am I spassing out? Any feedback will be highly appreciative.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Hard to interpret what any of those changes mean with only one set of numbers. Also difficult to answer any questions about additional infection risk without specific numbers from the partner. That said, having a viral load of 1800 would allow one to get a HIV drug resistance test, which I would strongly recommend, whether starting treatment now or not. However, I am in agreement with your doctor on this one.



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