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CD4 and VL
Jan 14, 2009

Could you please explain to me a bit about CD4 and VL lab results. The info I'm looking for is: What is the worst and best numbers for CD4, and I thought that under 50 copies(VL) is considered undetectable. And that over 100,000 is condidered 'bad' so to speak. Is that correct?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

A normal CD4 count is between 350 and upwards of 1200. While it seems good to have more, remember that some people are normal in the lower side of the "normal" range. Persons with advanced AIDS can have CD4 counts that are very, very low-- even 0 is not unheard of.

As for viral loads, undetectable levels are the goal of treatment. Different tests have different levels of sensitivity- most commonly 50 copies; other tests detect 48, 200 or 400 copies. An average off-treatment viral load is about 50,000 copies, a "high" viral load is arbitrarily considered over 100,000 copies. Viral loads can exceed 1,000,000 copies in some persons.

I hope this helps,

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