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Pattern Emerging In Results?
Jun 7, 2006

Hi There Doctors.

Firstly, thanks sincerely for all the work that you do. It really is appreciated. Especially for someone like me, who is a westerner living in Thailand.

I have known I am HIV+ for about a year or so now. I still feel great and am coping with the change in my life.

The last 3 results of lab tests have been as follows:

1) CD4: 680. CD4%: 38. VL: 37000

2) CD4: 570. CD4%: 38. VL: 43000

3) CD4: 500. CD4: 30. VL: 56000

Does this seem like a "normal" set of results in terms of CD4 declining etc.

I am a little worried about my VL steadily increasing - should I be?

My specialist here (who is very well versed) advises me that my last set of numbers are still good, and at this stage the CD4 number is not as important as the CD4%, which, at 30% is, he says, is still at a very good level.

He says that based on my current numbers it would be likely to be more than likely a minimum of 3 years or so, (maybe 4 or 5) before I need to think about medication. (I personally want to wait as long as possible). Would you agree with his sentiments?

Finally, what sort of medications do you think will be around in 3 or 4 years for someone like me just starting out? Is the prognosis for a long and prosperous life still likely for me, or will I be dead from AIDS by 50? (I'm now 34).

Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it!

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

It's always great to hear from readers outside of the US.

I'd view your labs as pretty stable, and certainly all within normal CD4 ranges. By contrast, your viral loads are all well withint the normal variability of the test and show no real significant changes. It's difficult to know for sure about trends, but look at your CD4%, if you see a similar magnitude decrease, then (and really only then) would I call your trend a "decline". Your CD4% of 30 is quite good and I agree with your Thai doctor with his estimate for when you might need to start on medications.

Medications in the near future will continue to look like they do now-- three drugs in combination pills; drug regimens that can be well adhered to and well tolerated. If I were you, I'd certainly be planning on seeing age 50 and a lot more.

Hope this helps, drop us a Thai line from time to time to let us know how you're doing. BY



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