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Viral Load Jump
Dec 30, 2004

Hi All

I was diagnosed in Nov 02. SInce then my viral load has fluctuated between 4000 and 39000. My Tcells were 650 in 2002 and are now 550 in Nov 2004. My last viral load jumped to 87,000 in late Nov 04 , the tcells still at 550. I am going back in a few weeks to retest to see if the jump in viral load was a fluke. If my viral load shows another increase above 87,000 would you recommend starting treatment with my tcells at 550? My doctor is leaning toward starting treatment if that is the case, but I don't know if I'm ready for that yet. I'm scared.

Thanks for your help.

Response from Dr. Pierone

The DHHS guidelines suggest considering therapy below 350 CD4 cells or with viral load above 100,000. Based on these guidelines, you can safely defer therapy. Some doctors and patients choose to initiate medications at higher CD4 cells and there is nothing wrong with an early treatment strategy, but we don't yet have good evidence demonstrating benefit from earlier treatment. This is why the authoritative standards suggest waiting for someone with numbers like yours.



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