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cd4 & v.l
Jun 9, 2010

I want to know why the decision to start treatment depends on the number of T cells than on viral load? Why do we find in many cases, the start of treatment with low T cells, although viral load is undetectable?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

The "T-cell" or CD4 count level is the most immediate indicator of current immune function. The viral load is just a measure of the quantity of virus circulating in the blood. The former is therefore, a measure of the risk of having a disease-related complication and is why CD4 levels are an important element in the decision to start treatment.

As for your second comment; it's not many cases that experience CD4 drops with undetectable (and off treatment) viral loads. On the contrary, in general as CD4s decline, the average viral load increases. Only on treatment do we typically see undetectable viral loads.

I hope this helps. BY



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