Dec 25, 2004
I tested HIV+ in February 2004 and currently am doing ok without meds (T-cells 553, VL, 27,500). Why is it that some of my friends on meds with VL's that are undetectable still have very low T-cell counts (around 200-250)? Why don't the t-cell counts make more significant improvement?
Response from Dr. Young
Thanks for your question.
The key thing about HIV therapies is, whenever possible, to achieve that undetectable viral load. Your friends apparently are on good regimens and have had great virologic success. As to how much CD4 cells increase, in recent studies, we can expect about 100-200 cell increases over the first year of treatment (on average). In general, if the viral load is undetectable, I tell patients to keep on truckin'... CD4 cells do come back- for some persons, it can take longer than average, but they usually do.
Sometimes there are other factors that can impact CD4 cell increases-- these include other infections or AIDS-related complications, certain drug reactions (recently, we've learned about the possible negative interaction between tenofovir and ddI on CD4 cells).
Hope this helps, BY
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