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Viral Load
Jun 12, 2005

I know that the viral load and the CD4 levels are important in treating HIV. Could you please explain how. what is the 'normal values' and at what levels should treatment commence? please, I NEED to Know.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

There are quite a few additional Q&As on this topic- I'd encourage you to search the forum for other replies.

In brief, since HIV kills CD4s over time, the CD4 count is a measure of one's immune system health and risk of having HIV-related complications. A normal CD4 cell count averages around 700 (but there is a wide normal range, from 350 to 1500).

HIV viral load is a measure of how much HIV is in the body. The more HIV there is, the more rapid the CD4 cell decline. An average viral load is around 50,000; but like CD4 cells, there is a wide range of viral loads seen in untreated individuals. Some have very low viral loads (less than 1000) others can have very high loads (usually defined as greater than 100,000).

Treatment is suggested for asymptomatic persons when the CD4 count is below 350 and highly recommended when the CD4 count is below 200. Some experts also independently recommend considering treatment in persons with high viral loads (>100,000).

I hope this helps. BY



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