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Quickly declining?
Oct 13, 2008

DO BOb I seen this guy post he said he got hiv in aug 16 10 of this year .

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

He said he was "fairly sure he contracted the virus on 8/16/10." That would mean he's a time traveler and contracted the virus in the future, two years from now! I worded my response carefully to take into consideration recent infection: ". . . if indeed you are recently infected . . . ."

Dr. Bob

Quickly declining? Oct 10, 2008

I am totally confused with my lab results. I was just diagnosed with HIV on 9/5/08 and am fairly sure I was infected on 8/16/10, so I believe I am in the acute infection stage. My initial labs were 3600 viral load and 501 tcell count. Three weeks later..My viral load is 6200 and my tcell count is 464! I am alarmed by the rapid progression of the virus. Could this be because I am in the acute phase of infection? Just yesterday, I had a fever of 101 that my doctor said was solely due a cold that I got due to working with kids (whom I knew were sick). And the fever quickly broke, and I feel fine today. But it really scared me! This is all so scary. Due to rapid progression of virus, do you think it is time for me to think about meds? Thank you for your help.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I do realize how absolutely terrifying a new diagnosis of HIV can be. However, your fears of "rapid progression" are unwarranted. HIV is a very slowly progressive illness. An absolute CD4 cell count drop from 501 to 464 within three weeks is not concerning. In fact, it could be due to your intercurrent cold. CD4 cells are involved with the body's defense against many germs, not just HIV. You'll need to look for trends over a much longer period of time to see how your body is handling your HIV infection. Also, if indeed you are recently infected, your body's immune response could still be "kicking in." During primary HIV infection, HIV plasma viral loads can skyrocket while CD4 cells plunge. However, as the immune system kicks in, the viral load decreases somewhat and CD4 counts stabilize for a period of time. I realize all this is very confusing and can be unnerving. However, the more you learn about HIV, its natural history, HIV monitoring tests and available treatments, the less frightened you'll become. I suggest you begin by reading the wealth of information on this site. Start with the "Just Diagnosed" chapter that can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage under the Quick Links heading.

You can also review detailed information in the archives of this forum (and on related links) pertaining to when to start treatment.

Don't be scared; rather, be informed!

I've been "virally enhanced" since January 1991. I'm here if you need me, OK? Let's get through this together.

Dr. Bob



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