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cd4 up and down

Sep 20, 2007

Dear Dr. Pierone, hi Doctor, my brother started kivexa + sustiva regimen two yrs ago. He became undetectable within 6 months, after a severe seroconversion (pneumonia, meningitis). Even if he's still undetectable, his cd4 count is going up and down (460 May 2006, 420 July 2006, 680 Nov 2006, 520 Jan 2007, 550 June 2007 and now 450 only), with his cd4/cd8 % around 36. What does it mean? Is such a trend normal? Do you think it is the right regimen? He is not taking other medications and he looks fine, never misses a pill, never had problems (apart from some fatigue and anemia), play sports and think positive.

Thank you again for your precious job. You're so helpful.


Response from Dr. Pierone

Hello, and thanks for posting.

This regimen sounds good as long as the fatigue and the anemia were in the past. If your brother is still having fatigue and anemia then this raises the possibility that something else may be going on. But if these problems were part of the original illness and have resolved, then no worries.

The variation in the CD4+ lymphocyte count is perhaps a bit more than usual, but it sounds like the percentage has been relatively stable. With an undetectable viral load, the long-term trend in CD4+ lymphocyte count and percentage typically follows a gradual upward slope. However, since most people have blood tests every 3 months, this translates into 4 data points per year so it may take 3-5 years to clearly see the larger picture.

Best wishes to your brother.

viral load
can virus load test detect non-B type HIVs?

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