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Prevalence of ICL
Mar 13, 2006

In a 1996 response Mr. Sowdasky explained Idiopathic CD4+ Lymphocytopenia (ICL) sometimes called non HIV AIDS. Several times, Mr. Sowdasky called the condition rare. Have there been any studies on the prevalence of ICL? If so, what have they found?

Thank you

Response from Dr. Frascino


ICL is not a specific disease caused by a single agent, but rather a syndrome characterized by an abnormal laboratory test (low CD4) not linked to other medical conditions. Generally the CDC receives notice of about one ICL case per month. I'll reprint a recent post from the archives that discusses ICL.

Dr. Bob


Assuming HIV is the cause of AIDS (and assuming the CDC didn't botch the HIV=AIDS definition), then what is the cause of HIV-Negative AIDS (idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia)?

Response from Dr. Frascino


"Idiopathic" by definition means the disease has no known cause. If it did, it would no longer be idiopathic! What we do know about idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia (ICL) is that it's not caused by an infectious or transmissible agent. I'll reprint a question from the archives that discusses ICL.

Dr. Bob


Youve ignored this before and im asking again because i know its not in the archives. Simple question! Can someone have symptoms of HIV infection and then develop ICL? or is ICL independent of HIV like symptoms?

Response from Dr. Frascino


O.K., here's the scoop on what we know about Idiopathic CD4 Lymphocytopenia (ICL). By definition, it's a syndrome characterized by low CD4 counts (less than 300) that are not caused by HIV or other medical conditions (Sjogrens Syndrome, Sarcoid, Radiation therapy, atopic dermatitis, steroid therapy or lymphoma). Transient unexplained decreases in CD4s can occur in healthy folks. Several important observations have been made about ICL:

1. There is no evidence it is caused by an infectious agent, as there is no clustering or evidence of spread from contact evaluations.

2. The most common opportunistic infections associated with ICL are cryptococcosis, molluscum and histoplasmosis. In general, folks with ICL have fewer OIs than HIV/AIDS patients for any given CD4 level. Infections, such as PCP, Candida and KS (HHV-8), are unusual for ICL.

3. ICL patients generally have a relatively good prognosis and their CD4 counts remain stable.

Presently ICL is being treated with IL-2 and gamma interferon, but since cases are relatively rare, treatment experience is limited. Cases of ICL should be reported to local and/or state health departments for follow-up.

That may be more information than you or our readers wanted to know, but at least you won't accuse me of ignoring you any longer, right?

Dr. Bob

3rd tryPlease Help! RPR test reliabilty with Uveitis
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