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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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CD4 count dropping
Aug 5, 2016

In february 2016 i was diagnosed with hiv my cd4 count was 97 i felt normal besides the lower abdominal pains and back pains i was immediately given ARV's and 3 months later they took another blood test and there my cd4 count dropped to 84 i still have the pains and i am getting worried what must i do.

Response from Dr. Henry

CD4 count responses to after starting ART when initial levels are low (< 100) are variable. Most often there will be in increase but many patients do not see an immediate increase (often due to extensive immune damage/scarring in the lymph tissue and ongoing inflammation). Achieving full suppression of the viral level (< 50 copies/ml) is the key marker for response to treatment and is important to both protect your health (suppressing virus even if CD4 count remains low does offer some clinical protection against AIDS complications) and create the milieau for your immune system to at least slowly recover. Protection again opportunistic infections is also important as is evaluating your abdominal symptoms and pain to see what else could be going on. KH

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