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Low Lymphocyte %
Aug 26, 1998

Dr. Mark

You recently addressed this issue, but can you tell us how dangerous is a low Lymph%, and how long can the human body "survive" with dangerously low levels?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It is clear from HIV literature that a CD4 number of < 200 or < 14%, is associated with an increased risk of developing opportunistic infections. We also know that each person has thousands of individual types of lymphocytes (clones), each which respond to an individual type of protein or antigen. HIV infection causes a selective loss of these clones, not a uniform loss. This puts one at great risk for some types of infections, but not necessarily others. If one were to have a low lymph count (without HIV infection), but have all the individual types of cells present, you would be in better shape than if you had HIV infection with a selective loss. When one has HIV infection and the CD4 cell count falls below 50, your are at extremely high risk of infection. It is difficult to determine how long one could survive.

MH



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