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hiv viral load increase
Mar 20, 2013

hey there. I was diagnosed with hiv in april of last year. Ive been on anti-retro viral drugs since june and have had a good response. originally my cd4 count was 26 and my viral load was 750k. currently my cd4 count is 140 and my viral load is 63. The last time i was tested however the viral load was lower. Around 53. is it normal to see an increase? also my cd4 count is not recovering as well as i had hoped.. do you think there is anything i can do to help push myself to undetectable, and get my cd4 count up? The avr's im taking are a 3 drug regiment of norvir prezista and kivexa.

Response from Dr. Young

Hi and thanks for posting.

I think that you're taking a very potent initial therapy; your initial viral load was quite high, and people like you often will have a lingering very low viral load (53 and 63) months after starting.

Such low-level viremia isn't of much concern, and the 10 copy difference between your two lab tests isn't significant or reason for concern.

As for your CD4 count, likewise, you started with a very low count and it can take longer for people like you who start therapy late (as opposed to early, with higher CD4s) to see CD4 count increases back to the normal range. Nevertheless, I wouldn't be discouraged, your count has increased ~125 cells (over 400%) in ~10 months- this is actually a very good response.

The best thing to do at this point is to continue to reinforce your adherence to medications and medical appointments. There really isn't a specific medicine that will dramatically change the rate of CD4 increases in the long run and what's key is to continue to suppress the virus so that your body and immune system can heal. It is good to make sure that other preventive medicine issues (like hepatitis, kidney, bone and mental health or drug dependency) are also similarly attended to.

I hope that helps. BY



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