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cd4 levels vs. viral load.
Dec 18, 2002

I'm just curious if one has more importance over the other when considering starting treatment and at what levels of each should one think about starting treatment. My cd4 count is 504 and I have a viral load of 67,138. I recently found out of my positive status and have not yet seen my doctor about treatment, so I just want to be prepared. Thank you!! Andy

Response from Dr. Young

I don't think that the question should be viewed as an either - or situation. Both CD4 count and viral load contribute independently to the risk of AIDS progession or AIDS events.

The CD4 count probably gives the most accurate assessment of immediate risk, but viral load can give additional information about the risk in the near- or intermediate-term future. The a CD4 count of 500, your immediate risk is pretty low, a viral load of 67,000 is moderate, suggesting that the rate or progression will not be slow, nor extremely fast.

In either event, getting periodic clinical and laboratory monitoring is the single best way to make sure that you (and your healthcare provider) understand how quickly your HIV disease progresses; hopefully to intervene with antiretroviral therapies prior to any serious complication.

Good luck. Stay in touch. -BY



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