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cd4 drop
Jul 28, 2009

Hello. I was diagnosed on March 3, 2009 HIV+. I had my first set of counts done in April. My cd4 was 897 and my viral was 24,000. I've had a few medical problems recently, thought I had the flu and it is not, have had several other symptoms that all match up with menengitis. I've seen a neurologist and I'm waiting for some more tests to come back. My family doc decided that it'd be a good idea to get an updated cd4 count and it came back as 558. What could cause my count to drop so drastically in just 3 months? I have an appointment next week with my ID doc but its kinda freakin me out.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your question.

CD4 counts can vary significantly from test to test. Thwe count reflects the CD4 cells in the liquid part of the blood. Cd4 cells move from the blood into the tissues of teh body to fight infections. So the level can vary even from morning to night. In addition, the test is not 100% reproducible, so that if you run the same sample twice, it won't be exactly the same. Especially since you have recently been sick, the CD4 count will often drop after an illness. Another measure, aclled the CD4% may be more stable. Ask your doctor if that has also dropped. The CD4% reflects the balance between the 2 major types of T cells (CD4s and CD8s), HIV causes the % to drop.

Best, Joe



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