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CD4 % and its relationship to Viral Load

Jul 16, 1998

I recently zero converted and tested positive within a week. I waited a month before deciding what to do in that time frame I had a Viral load test which came back with a viral load of 600 a T-Cell count of 1100 and a percent of 23%. I still deciding to go on medication. After a month of Viramune, Zerit and Epivir, we did the next Viral Load test: result T-cell 700 viral load undetectable and my percent down to 18%. What does this all mean. I know that a lot of weight is place on this percent and I just dont understand how it relates! And why did it get worse rather then better?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It sounds like you had a good response to therapy in terms of the virus. A change in CD4 cells from 1100 (23%) to 700 (18%) would be considered significant and generally not expected after the initiation of therapy. I don't know what your total white blood cell (WBC) or total lymphocyte count did (required to calculate the T helper count) during this period. Possibilities for the decline might include: 1)other meds which decrease WBC count; 2)intercurrent infection; 3)diurnal variation. T cells are higher in the afternoon, than in the morning. If your blood was drawn at different times of the day, it could affect the count.; 4)lab error (different patient?), or different labs performing the test. It might be useful to have it repeated.


Usefulness of pcr's for early detection
viral load test

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