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Getting My CD4 Count to Go Up
Feb 21, 2010

OK I understand that once your CD4 goes below 200 it is Aids, and cannot be reversed no matter how hi it goes. When I found out I had AIDS, I had a CD4 count of 2. My viral load has always been 51 or below (51 being this month). My CD4 count it now 89 after 14 months. But it does go up and down from month to month. MY question is. Since my CD4 got so low, and it does't seem to be coming up much, what are my porspects for a future. I am healthy, with the exceptions of a rash, and numbness in my feet. I have given up hope that my CD4 will ever go above 200. I am healthy, with the exceptions of a rash, and numbness in my feet. Basicly what can I expect over the next couple years? Do I have a future, or should I plan for the end. Not looking for anything sugar coated (I get enough of that) just the plain truth. Where do I stand in life? I have had to give up my job, and currently traveling around the country and just doing what I want to a point. I am healthy, with the exceptions of a rash, and numbness in my feet.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your question.

CD4 count recovery is not completely understood. You are correct that, on average, people who start treatment at low CD4 counts may not reach the highest levels (greater than 500 or 750, etc). But it is true, as in your case, that there can be significant improvement no matter what level you started. In only 14 months your CD4 count has gone from 2 to 89 (I wish the economy where doing that well!). It is true that the initial increase is usually more rapid, but that you can excpect a continued slow steady improvement over years to come, so I wouldn't write off 200. The key is to keep the viral load suppressed to always below 50 (or whatever the lowest level on the test available to you). Keeping the virus turned off may lessen the inflammation (called immune activation) that growing virus can trigger in the body and may help keep the CD4 count down. I would definitely plan for the future. As we collect more and more data...year after year...our projections for life expectancy improve. By getting your virus suppressed you have taken the most important steps toward improving your healthful longevity...the next thing is to focus, with your medical providers, on watching your diet, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc and to avoid smoking...once the virus is suppressed the thing that seems to be hurting people most is the residual damage done to the organs by all the time spent with virus running rampant (AIDS itself is less of a worry). So taking extra care of the normal health maintenance activities would be the best way to remain healthy for many many years to come.

Best, Joe

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