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Please answer - Dont ignore

Feb 28, 2014

This may be sounding a stupid question, but complicated for me so please don't ignore.

If a person is having say 880 as his CD4 count before infecting HIV, how much time normally it will take to reach the level of CD4 to 500 or below so that he need to take treatment ?. I know it varies person to person, but what will be the normal average time ( months/ years) this person's CD4 will reach at 500 or below ?

I have very valid reason to ask this becuase a friend of mine think he is infectedJan, 2014 and he can not test the HIV in the country where he is. Can he wait atleast a year to test and take treatment if required ?. His CD4 was checked and is 880 just after 2 weeks of very high exposure happened. He had all symtoms like rash on arms and thighs, headache and neck pain, stomach ache etc after 2 weeks of exposure. No fever, sweating or loose stool..

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

It's unfortunate, that in some countries, having an HIV test (never mind a positive result) is linked to significant stigma, discrimination or even criminalization. So your friends reluctance to get tested is understandable.

There are a lot of hypotheticals to your question. Be mindful that many things other than HIV cause rash, stomach ache, etc. Nonetheless, if one was infected in January, then it's not likely (but impossible to prove without additional lab testing) that he's not likely to have AIDS within the next year. It seems like CD4 count testing can be safely done without compromise to his confidentiality. We'd usually do repeat testing every 4-6 months- this would be the best way to determine if there's health risks. Here in the US, we recommend medical treatment for all positives; elsewhere, the World Health Organization recommends treatment when CD4 counts are below 500 or if the person has serious HIV-related symptoms.

I hope this is helpful, BY

It's an old saying, but knowledge is power. Perhaps getting anonymous testing in a AIDS Service Organization can help determine status. Then we can go about figuring out strategies for care with information rather than speculation.



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