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Starting on Septra
May 4, 2005

Hi. My nurse at AVRC in San Diego told me today that my viral load jumped to 153,000 from 49,000. My t-cell count is relatively stable at 468. However, my CD4 % dropped to 15%. She said I need to start on Septra to keep myself from getting pneumonnia. I am currently not on any meds, and am just not sure on going on Septra at this point. Is 15% really at a critical level to start on Septra?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

In general, yes, we recommend starting PCP preventive therapies (such as Bactrim or Septra) in patients with CD4 absolute counts below 200 or CD4 percentages below 15.

As we've mentioned in the past, getting a repeat set of labs sometimes helps differentiate between a single abnormally low lab or part of a larger trend.

Good luck and good health, BY



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