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Follow-up testing

Sep 10, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob, I'm the guy that was recently diagnosed, found your site and smiled for the first time since the news...I know you get lots of questions and may not remember me. First, I have to say that I am amazed at the number of questions that you receive that should have been answered by basic sex education (or basic cable, in some cases!). I digress, I was diagnosed positive on 7/27 and am going for follow-up blood test for viral load and CD4 count in a few weeks. Initially my viral load was around 9700 and my CD4 count at 398. Given my numbers, my Dr. decided to wait to start me on anti-retroviral medication, so I am currently not taking anything. What expectations should I have (if any) for my next set of numbers? If it helps you answer the question to know: since diagnosed I have been working out, eating right, and generally doing all of the things I should have been doing anyway, and there has been zero chance of re-exposure. Thanks for all you do, and thanks for always making me smile! Take care!

HIV Rookie

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi HIV Rookie,

Without knowing when you became infected (not when you first tested positive), I can't really provide you with any reliable predictions on what your next set of numbers will look like. If you were recently infected, your counts may still be very much in flux, as your immune system kicks into high gear and begins fighting the invading virus. Eventually the immune system and the virus reach a type of equilibrium called the "set point." Once there, it's a bit easier to give predictions about CD4-cell decline in untreated patients. You can read much more about this in the archives and elsewhere on this site. Your HIV specialist should also provide you with specific information about your progress and prognosis as more information becomes available. I commend your efforts to improve your overall health by optimizing your diet and exercise program. In addition to the general health improvements, such interventions have other benefits as well, not the least of which is that they make us look better naked.

Stay well. Keep smiling! Continue learning about HIV.

Dr. Bob

What we did when condom slipped off
Unprotected sex with HIV+ person

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