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Low Viral Load low CD4
Oct 16, 2004

My wife, son and I are all infected with HIV+. I have a high CD4 of 384, undetectable viral load and so not on treatment for the time being. However, my wife who caught the infection earlier has a CD4 of 83 but a viral load of 2071. Is the low viral load a positive for her expected progress on HAART. She has been on Zidovudine, Lamivudine, and Nevirapine for 3 weeks. What kind of progress can we expect (without commitments to certainties).

Response from Dr. Young

Thank you for your post.

You're correct in that your wife has a relatively low viral load, but clearly also has a very low CD4 count. Provided that there's no pre-existing drug resistance and that her adherence to the treatment is optimal, one can expect to see a greater than 90% reduction in viral load after only 4-6 weeks; this would mean that her viral load could reach less than 400 copies at this point.

CD4 cell rise on most regimens can be expected to be about 150-200 cells over a year, though it's not too unusual not to see dramatic changes after only one month.

I hope this helps and wish you and your entire family good health. BY



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