Mar 24, 2004
I have been hiv Poz for about 5 yrs now, when I first tested positive my cd4 was 513 and viral load was 13,600 and my "percentage" was 33. My doctor told me before that a percentage of 21 was roughly equal to a cd4 count of 350, and also that the percentage would drop about 1-2 every 3-6 months. He also said once that a percentage of 15 was pretty bad. I just got my tests results back and the cd4 was 408, vl was 28,108 and the "percentage" was 17. Back in Dec. of 2003 my percentage was 26. Now I am confused how it could drop so far in 3 months and what does this mean healthwise for me? I should also tell you that until now my cd4 count never dropped below 500 and now it drops over 100 and my percentage drops 9 in just three months. I am not on any meds and never have been but I feel very healthy and have not been sick for a very long time. What does all this mean???
Response from Dr. Conway
It means you have to have another test for your CD4 cell count a few weeks later.
An acute illness of some sort (could be as simple as the flu or food poisoning) can play tricks with your immune system and produce the results you describe. This is usually more pronounced with respect to the actual count itself, but may also affect the percentage in this way.
Another thing to rememeber is that CD4 counts (and, to a lesser extent, percentages) are notoriously variable. They can even depend on the time of day they are taken, whether a person smoked more that day, etc... I NEVER base decisions on treatment on a single test result, especially if it is at odds with previous results.
If I were you, I would get another test before getting too hung up with this result.
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