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CD4 and Viral Load

Aug 2, 2011

Hello, I was recently diagnosed with HIV - about 2 months ago. I think Im HIV+ since about 2 years ago. In my first CD4 and viral load count I get 525cd4 and 489 of viral load. My doctor told me Im ok and not in need to start meds. What does a so low viral load means? Searching the web I only find people with much higher viral load values... It is normal to have a cd4 near 500 and a so low viral load?

Thank you very much!

Response from Dr. Frascino


Is it "normal" to have a CD4 count of 500 and viral load of 489? Well, there is actually absolutely nothing normal about having HIV! Period. Certainly it's possible to have a reasonably high CD4 count and low viral load. This could result from having a wimpy viral strain or a potent immune response, among other reasons. Some folks control viral replication better than others (elite controllers, long-term non-progressors, etc.)

As for when to start medications, the current trend is to begin earlier rather than later in the course of the disease to preserve immune function and prevent damaging immune activation/inflammation. Many HIV specialists, including yours truly, recommend beginning treatment as soon as you are diagnosed HIV positive, even if your CD4 count is well above 500. You can read much more about "when to start treatment" in the archives of this forum and elsewhere on this site.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

washing clothes
Medical Intern with possible exposure

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