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CD4 of 41 and Weight training

Jun 19, 2013

Hi Nelson I'm Miguel from Mexico, thank you very much for the answers you give to many of the given questions by other people. I need a recommendation from you.

Since decembre 2012 I was diagnosed with HIV at CD4 count of only 6 per mililiter and a viral load of 94500; it was weird or maybe I was lucky because I've not been sick at all.

I started on Efavirenz and Truvada by the end of march. Until that point I had been doing weight training for about a year but not seriously, I gained 5kg. One month I started treatment I improved my nutrition and I began to do real weight lifting 3 times a week, taking whey protein, vitamins, plenty of water etc.

Just yesterday I received my first lab test after starting HIV treatment 3 months ago. Sadly my CD4 count only raised to 41 but mi viral load dimished to 157. The doctor said that my liver enzymes had doubled but that they are not in a dangerous level, that maybe it's a side effect of treatment. She adviced me to diminish my protein intake, specially from read meat (even though I rarely eat it).

At this point I don't know if I should continue excersicing, or if I should dimish intensity. I feel right but from time to time I get fatigue which I think is mostly because of the high anxiety that been HIV positive has caused.

By the way, my doctor is not an HIV specialist. What would you suggest Nelson?

Thanks in advance for your answer, hugs. Miguel.

Response from Mr. Vergel


Your response to treatment is good. Nothing to be sad about. An increase of 57 CD4 cells in 3 months is good. The expected increase if everything goes well is usually about 150-200 CD4 cells in a year. You are definitely on your way there, specially when your viral load becomes fully suppressed under 20 copies/ml.

Keep exercising. It improves many health variables in HIV+ and HIV- people. Although we have not a single study that follows people on or off an exercise program while they start HIV medications to prove its benefits in people like you, exercise may improve the chances for any weight gain to be preferential towards lean body mass and not fat. Exercise (done well and not in excess) can also improve lipids, inflammatory markers, and mental outlook. It should be a prescribed option for all HIV+ people!

Here is a video in Spanish that may help you:

Sugerencias Importantes para el Ejercicio Efectivo

Buena suerte y por favor reportate pronto.


Abacavir y lípidos
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