|expectations for post-bloodwork 1st visit
Aug 4, 2003
I was diagnosed as HIV+ on 30 May 2003 (I was negative a year earlier). Blood was drawn, and I am seeing my doctor in 2 days to get my viral load/cd4 counts. Can you give me some idea of what to expect in this session? I know it's tough w/out the numbers, but what is the likelihood that I'll have to start meds right away? Many thanks, this site does rock.
Response from Dr. Pierone
We have been way behind on answering questions (but plan to catch up) so you already know your CD4 count and viral load. Most people in the first year of HIV infection have a CD4 count that is often in the normal range. The viral load depends to some degree on luck, the better the immune response to HIV, the lower the viral load set point. Because you may not know the exact time you were infected it is possible that you very recently infected. If so, the viral load may be very high and CD4 count lower than expected. There is a very high burst of HIV levels in the bloodstream with acute infection (not all acute HIV infections cause symptoms) and as the immune system responds viral load comes down to a set point that may persist for years.
Unless you have a very high viral load or low CD4 count, the likelihood is that you will not have to start medications right away. Let us know how things turned out.
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