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One blood test or 2?
Jun 4, 2005

Doctor(s), hello!

I have been diagnosed as HIV+ within the last four months. My viral load is 17,200, my CD4 is 219 (18%) and I am positive (no pun intended) that I was infected approximately one year ago. I have only had one blood test. I am a 24 year old male, I eat well, I don't feel sick, Im mildly tired (but Ive been mildly tired off and on for about 6 years, when I was diagnosed with mono, freshman year of college), I don't spend the entire day sitting on the toilet with diarrhea and my skin is clear.

My question is, should I have another blood test? I am returning to the doctor at the end of June. I was told by an acquaintance to get another blood test before I start medicine, however my doctor has told me she is ready if I am ready. I don't want to start them if I don't need to. Is it possible that my high level of stress could have caused a skewed CD4 count? Can exercise and weight training, yoga, acupuncture or anything increase a CD4 count, or am I stuck with the one I have now?

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post and comments.

I'd rather think that both approaches are, in essence, correct. The previous set of labs are consistent with the recommendation to start therapy soon.

However, since there is much variability in labs from day to day (enough that a positive diference-- pun not intended) might give sufficient basis for delaying the start.

Given your reasonable reluctance to start HIV treatments, I'd have another set of labs done prior to meeting with your doctor. Maybe a meaningful difference could alter your collective approach.

Good luck and thanks for posting. BY



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