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CD4 + count and Viral Load

Jul 21, 2001

Doctor, I have one question. 1.Will a 2 mile brisk walk and some ten minutes of yoga everyday, coupled with adequate sleep(8 Hrs), and a balanced diet, a) slow down the pace of the decreasing cd4 count, and b) slow down the pace of the increasing viral load? If so, then are there any statistics available since we have read somewhere that a person loses approximately 50 to 100 cells/mm3

This is for a person who has been infected for about 4 months and is not on any medication.

Response from Dr. Pavia

Taking good care of oneself is very important to the overall well being of a person with HIV. Excercise for the body (ie walking), the mind and body (ie yoga)and good nutrition are all very good things. I cannot tell you that it will slow CD4 loss by X cells a year however. I simply don't have any research that looks precisely at that question, and it is important to realize that everyone is different. CD4 cell loss is most closely related to viral load; the lower the viral load, the slower the rate of loss, the higher the VL, the faster the CD4's drop.

There are some studies that have looked at excercise and general immune function (skin test reactivity) and at number of minor infections, and they confirm that there is a general benefit to excercise. Good self care is not a substitute for antiviral therapy once the CD4 count gets low however. How low is a complicated subject, but 250 to 400 is a range I currently think should start the discussion about time to treat.

Good luck


Thank you

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