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Viral Blip, or resistance?
Mar 26, 2002

I had attained an undetectable viral load for the past two years and CD-4 cells crept up to 515 as of December of last year. My CD-4 percentage has never gotten above 16, but my doctor doesn't seem alarmed by that number. I am on Combivir and Sustiva, which I take religiously. Recently, while I was being screened for a trial at NIH, my viral load was detectable at 390, and my CD-4 count dropped to 465, and my CD-4 dropped to 13. Could this just be a blip? Also, I found out that I was exposed to Fifth Disease by my sister-in-law and niece, prior to the NIH tests. Could that exposure have triggered the crummy labs? And what about that Cd-4 ? Should I be more assertive with my doctor at getting those numbers higher? If this is resistance, what are my treatment options?

(I tried the drug resistance forum, but Dr. Little hasn't responded to anything for a couple of weeks, so I think she must be away).

Response from Dr. Boyle

It may very well be a blip and it should be rechecked. As far as your CD4 count, there are limited options for further improvemnt (other than perhaps IL-2) and I would focus on keeping the viral load undetectable. Full recovery can take some time, if it happens at all. Other infections can cause viral load increases and CD4 declines, so both should be rechecked before making any treatment decisions.

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