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Treatment working?
Oct 15, 2003

I was diagnosed with HIV 6/02, CD4 count initially was 34, VL was 250,000. My meds were Sustiva/Combivir. My doctor put me on Sustiva/Epivir/Viread this past June thinking that might boost CD4 count which was 150, VL undetectable at that time. He said my white blood cell count when I started treatment was low and that the AZT in Combivir might be supressing my white blood count, thereby supressing my CD4 count, hence the treatment change. My most recent lab had my CD4 count at 140, VL undetectable. He says I'm doing fine. Is it more important for the VL to be low than the CD4 count to be higher? My last three labs had CD4 count at 154,150,140, VL undetectable in all three. Why is it I read guys on the same treatment with 500-600-700+ CD4 counts?

Response from Dr. Boyle

Some patients get better CD4 increases than others, and unfortunately yours have not risen as much as we would like to see. In some patients immune can take longer, but it sounds like your response has flattened out. A recent study found that treatment interruptions, a poor virologic response and age were associated with poor immune response to HAART, and other studies have found that patients with hepatitis C also have a blunted immune recovery. There is very little information about what to do in these circumstances, but you should stay on PCP prophylaxis (obviously) and you might consider IL-2 although it is not specifically approved for this purpose.

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