Oct 13, 2002
i was diagonosed 2/02 vl 750000+ cd4 14 i started trizivir and sustiva. in 5/02 i was vl 386 cd4 91 looking good feeling great 9/02 vl went up to 1700 but my cd4 continued up to166. to the layman what is the relationship between vl and cd4 . thought when one went up the other went down.
Response from Dr. Little
In general, when the viral load goes up, the CD4 goes down. This holds for the vast majority of people. Several things to remember though - first, the CD4 cell count changes typically lag about 8-12 weeks after the viral load changes (i.e. the immune response to changes in viral load can take a month or two after the observed change in the viral load) - second, the CD4 number will change any time the total White blood cell count changes and this may make it difficult to compare month to month CD4 cell counts. I would suggest you look at the CD4 percentage that goes with each CD4 cell count - this can give you a much more stable pattern in the face of a changing total white blood cell count (again, increasing viral load gives decreasing CD4 percentage over time in most people).
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