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What is the Goal of taking HIV Meds?
May 22, 2006

Hi Dr. I'd like to know when taking HIV meds what is the ultimate goal? Is it to raise CD4 count? Reduce viral load? And if that happens and someone gets to normal levels do they feel better? Does having a normal CD4 count and zero viral load mean you won't get sick easily or does it mean if you do get sick your body can fight the illness better? I guess my main question is do CD4 cells "prevent" illness or do they help you get better after you become ill?

Response from Dr. Wohl

It is all about the CD4 cells.

HIV therapy is like birth control for the virus, it prevents it from reproducing - making more of itself. Less virus means more CD4 cells. More CD4 cells mean better protection against infection AND better ability to fight infections that do happen to develop.

DW



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