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T-cells dropped rapidly again.
Feb 21, 2005

Hi,

I was diagnosed with HIV November 2002. I went on to meds immediately, the doctors here said my infecton was very new (which was proven later, I found how I contracted it). I came off of the Meds in August 2003. September, October and November test results were good. Low viral load and .500 t-cell count. Then came December. I went in expecting very similar results but my t-cells were back down to .347. The doctor says it is probably a glitch or a normal process in the body and they should pick up again and sent me on my way. I have no more tests scheduled for 3 months. I am worried because I was told I shouldn't need meds, probably for years. Should I be demanding the tests again sooner? I thought when the t-cells dropped below .350 it was time to consider treatment again. The doctor said he wasn't concerned because my viral load was only up by 100 counts which is nothing. Please help!

Response from Dr. Sherer

I don't have enough information to answer your question. In particular, I would need to know what your baseline viral load and D4 cell count were.

I am not overly concerned by this story, however, and I think you are OK to await the next lab tests in 3 months with your doctor. With the low viral load, and the long term stability of the CD4 cell count, it does not appear that you have a high risk of rapid disease progression and a sudden fall in your CD4 cell count.

Still, if the anxiety and uncertainty are difficult to handle, you would be within your rights to call your doctor and explain your concerns and ask for a sooner lab test. You could also ask about the level of CD4 percents during this period, as the percentage often changes less or not at all while the absolute CD4 count varies more widely.

So I advise you to have a conversation with your doctor and figure out whether a shorter interval until the next visit is needed.


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