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stress and cd4 counts

Apr 5, 2007

I've known about my hiv status for a year. My cd4's have been above the magic 350 mark (540-369)level although the last test in Dec 06 dipped to 329 after a stressful month. My percentages are relatively stable, in the high 30% and VL in the low 5000 or less. But I am getting more depressed and anxious as each follow up lab test approaches worrying that I'll dip below 350 again or even have a resistant virus that will be hard or impossible to treat. Can depression/anxiety have enough of a bad effect on cd4 counts that I could actually find myself below 350 simply due to stress? It seems like a vicious circle. My provider originally told me based on my VL and CD4 I wouldn't have to worry about meds for a few years. Can I actually "worry" myself into needing meds a lot sooner? I've been put on Zoloft 100mg and .5mg xanax prn to try to calm down and it's not helping all that much.

Response from Dr. Horwath

I wouldn't be so concerned that anxiety will lower your CD4 count, but it certainly is causing you a lot of discomfort. You are watching your lab values too closely. These numbers fluctuate quite a bit, and you are causing yourself needless worry by reacting to every change. Let your doctor worry about the numbers. Try to focus on enjoying your life.

Is it normal?
mental health

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