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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Falling CD4 Count
Jul 3, 2001

Hi, Could you tell me if I have anything to be worried about. I was diagnosed with AIDS in July 2000, with a viral load of 500,000 +, and a CD4 count of 17, plus PCP. I started a clinical trial in September 2000 (Efavirenz, Lamivudine, Tenovofir (or placebo) and Stavudine (or placebo)). In my first couple of months on treatment my CD4 count jumped to just below 200 and has only just been over 200 on one occasion. Since then my CD4 count has started to decrease - last month it was 191 and my latest result is 136 - a steady downhill trend. I'm told the ratio is about 14. My viral load is negative. Is there anything to worry about? Thanks in advance.

Response from Dr. Bartlett

CD4 counts may exhibit great variability, and it is possible that the decline is simply due to laboratory variation. If your HIV RNA level has stayed below the limit of detection, I think you should stick with your current regimen and see if your CD4 count doesn't come back up. Investigators are looking for treatments to raise CD4 numbers, and interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been evaluated most thoroughly. It is not yet known whether IL-2 should be recommended for someone in your situation.

Pain relief
Lipidistrophy avoidance. . .

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