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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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hiv and aids
Dec 9, 2004

what does HIV/AIDS do to the body?

Response from Dr. Conway

In general terms, HIV attacks your body's defenses reducing your ability to fight off infections and cancers that would not normally affect you if your immune system was normal. The way we measure how mcuh damage has been done is by doing a CD4 cell count. If it si 200 or lower, the individual is at risk for AIDS-related or "opportunistic" conditions.

Another useful measure is the HIV plasma viral load. The higher this is, the more rapidly the CD4 cell count can be expected to decline.

Taken together the CD4 cell count and HIV plasma viral load can help predict if someoen is at imemdiate risk of developing AIDS-related conditions or, if they aren't, how soon (without treatment) this is more likely to occur.

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