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Need your help please!!!
Mar 22, 2006

Dear Dr. Young,

My sister in Vietnam is just diagnosed with HIV pos on Jan. 16, 06. One week later, she got her blood test again. Below are her 2nd test result: Lymph Events - 4218; Bead Events - 1755; cd3 + %Lymph - 73; cd3 + Abs Cnt - 1762; cd3 + cd8 + %Lymph - 53 (Hi); cd3 + cd8 + abs cnt - 1270 (Hi); cd3 + cd4 +%Lymph - 17 (Lo); cd3 + cd4 + abs cnt - 409 (Lo); cd3 + cd4 + cd8 + %Lymph - 0; cd3 + cd4 + cd8 + abs cnt - 2; cd45 + abs cnt - 2399 t h/s ratio - 0.32 (Lo).

Would you please educated me a little bit about these results? What stage is my sister in right now? Her doctor in VN has her taking Thymomodulin and some vitamins. My sister is in very good health right now. There is no symtoms at all that tells she is sick. If her employer didn't ask her to do the blood test, she would know that she got infected. Everyone in my family is in a big shock right now. Especially my sister, she's very depressed. We still don't know why she got infected. Can you please help us? What do I need to do to support her at this time? I'm currently living in the U.S. and she lives in VN now.

Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for taking your time to read my questions.

Warmest Regards to you and your family!

nva

Response from Dr. Young

Dear NVA,

I'm sorry to hear about your sister. The essential piece of information is that she feels well-- this means that she has asymptomatic HIV disease (called CDC class A). As for her tests, the important ones are:

cd3 + cd4 +%Lymph - 17 (Lo); cd3 + cd4 + abs cnt - 409 (Lo)

These lab results are often simplified to mean that the CD4 absolute count is 409, the CD4 percentage is 17. Your sister's CD4 absolute count is in the normal range (>350), the percentage is somewhat below normal.

While I usually like to get a couple of lab tests in order to get a picture of the average and prognosis, taken together, these data points suggest that your sister is not at great risk of having an HIV-related complication, nor will need to start medications for HIV in the immediate future.

At this time, the best advice for concerned family members is to be supportive of your sister's needs and emotions; make sure that she's got access to adequate nutrition and qualified (or experienced) medical professionals. I like to see repeat CD4 cell counts every 3-6 months, minimally in order to be able to act proactively to start HIV medications (I understand these are now becoming available in Vietnam).

Good luck, best wishes to you and your sister. BY



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