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RE:Why low cd4 count and low viral load?
Feb 7, 2010

If he was diagnosed with AIDS with a cd4 count of 9 and a viral load of 24,000. Could that mean that he acquired hiv only a few years ago? Before he was diagnosed he had chronic diarrhea for a few months and then he developed pnuemonia. I am just confused about these first lab numbers.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your follow up questions.

One really cannot measure the time of HIV infection from a CD4 or viral load test. While generally, most people take several years to progress from initial infection to symptomatic AIDS, some progress rapidly and others progress very slowly.

The chronic diarrhea and pneumonia suggest to me that these were possible sentinels of immune suppression, but don't provide any indication of when the initial infection occured.

Suffice to say that while it's understandable that you (or your friend) would wan't to pin down when infection happened, these lab values just won't provide an accurate answer.

Be well, BY



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