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t-cell
May 4, 2008

I am 20 year old. I just tested positive. On my first blood test my viral load was 10400 and the t-cells were 374. My doctor said I should consider treatment, but I am not sure. Should I wait for a newer blood work? Should I start meds? What does this say about my health?

Response from Dr. DeJesus

You and your doctor are both right. Your doctor told you that "you should consider treatment", and that is precisely what you are doing, otherwise you would have not asked me those questions. On the other hand, it is good that you will repeat your CD4 cells and viral load again before committing to treatment. Your being so young, I am assuming you were recently infected. Initiation of anti-HIV medication is a very important commitment that you make with yourself, but a long, long time, so you need to make sure you feel comfortable with that decision mentally and emotionally.

If having a few more repeated tests is going to help you feel more comfortable about making that commitment, have your doctor follow your numbers for a bit longer. Although we normally recommend starting therapy when your CD4 approaches 350 cells, this is by no means an emergency. I think you will gain more by following your numbers a bit longer until you feel totally comfortable. But when you get ready, start and don't delay!



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