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CD4 count and VL after acute infection
Sep 25, 2009

Dear Dr. i am a chinese man living in china and i am 36 years old. i had unprotacted sex with strangeron 25th June of 2009, and i am the bottom.3 weeks later i start with fever and lots of other symptoms.i had ELESA test on 22th July 2009 and WB test too,WB test show not sure,they told me one belt is complete but another one is discontinuous, two weeks later i took it again and i was diagnosed with hiv.my cd4 count is 332 on Auguest 18th. i took a CD4 test and VL on 21th SEPTEMBER, CD4 286,10%,vl 67,500.I just got hiv for only 3 months and why is my cd4 so low and relatively high VL?i search online that cd4 will recovery to a relatively high rate,but my is declining. is that mean i directly develop into AIDS only by three months? medical and treatment of this aspect is relativly fall behind and doctor discriminate hiv carriers,i don't want to die, would you please help me to explain will my cd4 count increase? and are there any means to get help from U.S. doctor to help from now on for my disease, and are there any ways of get free hiv treatment drugs from U.S.A i do really need your help,i don't want to die in such a helpless country.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'm sorry to hear about your recent HIV diagnosis. It is not uncommon for the HIV plasma viral load to skyrocket and CD4 count to plunge shortly after HIV infection. It may take several months for your own immune system to kick in and begin fighting the virus. When this happens, the viral load may well decrease somewhat and the CD4 counts, partially recover. HIV disease, however, is variable from person to person. Not everyone responds exactly the same. Some strains of HIV are more aggressive than others and can lead to more rapid disease progression. Also not everyone's immune system is equally effective in fighting the virus. Consequently, disease progression can be variable from person to person for a variety of reasons.

I would advise repeating your CD4 count and HIV plasma viral load in one to two months. There is a good chance you'll see some improvement. If not, you should consider beginning combination antiretroviral therapy.

Contact your local AIDS service organizations to get a referral to an HIV-knowledgeable physician (who does discriminate!) in your area. The only way to get help form a U.S. HIV specialist would be to travel to the U.S. However, even if that were possible, the treatment and medications would not be free.

Read through the information on this site. There is a chapter on The Body's homepage entitled "Just Diagnosed" that will help you adjust to your new reality as an HIVer. Your story should also be a warning to others reading this forum that unprotected sex can have devastating consequences.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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