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Please help with these VL and CD4 results
Aug 16, 2002

Dr Young,

You have answered so many questions for us in the past so I am asking one more. My partner is HIV+ and was discovered in May 01' Since, he has had three VL & CD4 tests...we just got the last one back today:

Jun 01' CD4 710 VL 36K Nov 01' CD4 649 VL 48K Aug 02' CD4 640 VL 16K

The viral load has got to be wrong wouldn't you agree? I have asked a few other experts on the body also so we can decipher what to do--should we retest again now to get proper numbers, or should we wait until 3-6 months from now due to his high CD4 count? I thought maybe he had been infected relatively recent to discovering his status but he had been with me for quite some time and always remained faithful, and I am HIV negative. Would you say this is a blip and we should go have another test done? I apologize I do not have CD4 percentages Thanks

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your questions.

I'd summarize the numbers that you've described as a stable and high CD4 cell count (there's really little difference between 710 and 640) and a moderately high, stable viral load (remember that viral loads can vary quite a bit from day to day, even in the absence of treatments or infections). The variation in viral loads can be as much as 3- to 5-fold; hence one day's viral load of 16,000 could be another day's 48,000, just for example.

Hope this is helpful, -BY


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