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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.



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