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Viral Load, CD4 and CD8 with secondary STD

Aug 26, 2001

I was just diagnosed with asymptomatic HIV a week ago. I've seroconverted sometime in the past six months. We have the followup labs back and I'm not too certain what they mean and what I should do next. The viral load is 188,000(bDNA), CD4-463(24), CD8-1160(60). I don't quite understand the significance of CD8 and my viral load seems freakishly high. To complicate matters further, I may have a rectal STD (gonorrhea or chlamydia). How would that have affected my T-Cell counts? Any explanation or information would be appreciated.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Your CD4 count, and therefore your immune system is in pretty good shape. You are not at risk for any serious HIV associate complications at this point. Your CD8 count is minimally elevated and is reflective of your immune system's war with the virus. The major response your immune system mounts against this infection is by creating cytotoxic T cells which can kill the virus. Hence the increase in CD8 cells. The viral load is in the high region. This could be from recent seroconversion or a concomitant infection, like an STD. You don't need to start HIV treatment at this point. I would get the STD treated, and then see where the viral load is in 1-2 months. I suspect it will be lower. If not, then serious consideration should be made for starting treatment sooner rather than later. MH

Conflicting Message from Doctors
what is a viral load ?

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