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Lab trends
Oct 27, 2004

I was diagnosed with HIV in June 2003. When I was first tested my numbers were CD4:276 and viral load of 20,000. Since then, my viral load has remained fairly constant with some occasional drops to about 10000, however my CD4 count has fluctuated to 300 and now back down to 200. Is this normal?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

The real answer to your question lies with the understanding that CD4 cell absolute counts can vary quite a bit from day to day (as much as 20%). This means that you could expect to see a 25-50 cell difference, even without any significant change in health status.

One way to see if the changes that you've had are indicative of immune system decline is to look at CD4% (another way to measure CD4s). I might venture a guess that your CD4% has not changed too much over this relatively brief period of time. If this is so, I'd conclude that your absolute (total) CD4 count changes are mere variation and not due to disease progression. By contrast, if you see a downward trend in percentages, this would suggest immune system decline.

Good luck, thanks for reading. BY



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