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Weird disease
Feb 7, 2007

Dear Doctor, Though I have been living with for almost 7 years I cannot help wondering how weird this disease is: my CD4 is now at its lowest since diagnosis (350, percentage 24%, I am not on meds yet but will have to start soon) I feel nevertheless much better now than in the past, when CD4 was 700 or 800 and % higher. I have no symptoms whatsoever, I do not even catch a cold or a flu, I have an excellent appetite (and I am a bit overweight too), so I experience the paradoxical situation where among colleagues, friends or family, all supposedly negative, I am the only one not to sneeze, cough or stay at home sick..

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

I'm not so sure that your case is wierd or atypical at all, perhaps fortunate.

Since the lower limit of normal CD4 counts is between 350-400, it's not unusual to NOT have symptoms of HIV until counts are lower. Indeed, persons living with HIV don't seem to be unusually susceptible to the common cold or flu (though admittedly, this is not exhaustively studied).

So, for now, count yourself as one of the fortunate. With a CD4 count at 350, you'll likely need to consider starting medications in the near term- not an emergency, but rather good, evidence-based preventive medicine.

Hope this helps. BY

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