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what is cd4%
Aug 14, 2006

What exactly is the CD4% and how does it correlate with my CD4 count and viral load?

I am a 32 year old white male that was diagnosed in April of 2004 and not currently on any medication regimen. Since then my numbers have been stable with the exception of my CD4% which has been dropping with every lab check. It is now down to 14% where my CD4 count is above 400 like always. My VL as never risen above 15,000 which was the last count. Is this something to be concerned about? or am I playing the numbers game? Otherwise, I feel healthy and happy.

Thanks, Overly Concerned.

Response from Dr. Young

Dear Overly,

Thank you for your post.

The "CD4%" refers to the percentage of T-cells (or T lymphocytes) that bear the CD4 molecule. CD4% number generally correlates with the total (or absolute) CD4 count, but in some individuals, the two parameters can be in disagreement (as it appears to be in your case). When there is disagreement between absolute CD4 count and CD4%, I'll tend to weight the CD4% as the more important parameter.

Typically for each absolute CD4 count of 100, the CD4% is about 7.5%; hence someone with a CD4 count of 200 would be expected to have a CD4% of 15. Indeed, having a CD4% less than 15% is considered by the CDC to be an AIDS-defining lab value.

In your case, you and your doctor have confirmed that there is a downward trend in CD4% and you've unfortunately reached (or crossed) that 15% benchmark.

It's reassuring that you're feeling well and happy. Nonetheless, if you were my patient, I'd manage this situation proactively and consider starting on antiretroviral therapy-- before you become unhealthy and unhappy.

Best of luck, BY



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