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my first VL / CD4 test
Apr 18, 2013

Hi I have recently been diagnosed and got the result of my first viral load and cd4 tests today. I got infected about 9 months ago and wonder how you would judge the results. My doctor says it's good and nothing to worry about at the moment. But to me the viral load looks so high. What are the possibilities for my viral load to come close to undetectable without starting on meds. Also what does the high CD8 mean?

CD3 2194 CD8 1588 CD4 585

VL 100,000 copies/ml


Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

While your CD4 count remains in the normal range, the elevated CD8 count is entirely common among people living with HIV. CD8s are the so-called suppressor T cells- when elevated are indicative of a relative increase in immune suppression.

Your viral load is indeed high, and predicts more rapid (than average) decline in CD4s, immune function and risk of disease progression. There's little that will bring your viral load to undetectable levels short of treating the HIV- no vitamins, supplements or other life style modifications do this.

Here in the US, treatment guidelines recommend antiretroviral treatment for all individuals living with HIV, irrespective of CD4 count (and especially for those with high viral loads).

I hope that helps, BY

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