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Never been able to increase CD4 Count

Jun 3, 2002

I tested positive in 1994 and at that time my CD4 count was 225. I am a 38yo man and the earliest I could have been infected due to sexual contact would have been 1986. I have been on numerous drug regimes and at no time have I been able to increase my CD4 count. I have stopped drug treatment several times (for extended periods of time) due to side affects of the drugs. I know I have not made the "standard" or doctor recommended choices in treating my HIV but I chose to maintain my quality of life due to the side affects I experienced with several HIV meds (anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, etc). With that said, I have been on effective, tolerable meds for about 2 years now. Currently, Kaletra (400mg 2x day), Viread (300mg/day) and Videx (250mg/day). My CD4 count is 20 and has been in the single/double digits for about 4 years. Last year I had my first significant OI in the form of Valley Fever (cocci). Getting through that was rough but successful. I no longer work and have the time and fortitude to concentrate on HIV management. Are there any treatments available that could help boost my immune system and CD4 count? I feel I need to lead my current doctor too them.

Response from Dr. Boyle

This is an area that we don't have great answers for, despite a lot of research and effort. There are many reasons that have been uncovered for failing to raise your T cells, and these include advanced HIV disease, being older, certain continuing problems with infections, medications, infection with non-clade B virus (which may go undetected with some earlier HIV assays), and others. First, you need a throrough physical and laboratory assessment to verify that you do not have a medical issue besides HIV that is holding back your immune recovery. Second, your medications need to be reviewed. Third, while there is very limited data on this, you might consider trying a medication to help thymic activity (since this is where new T cells are generated), and there was recently a preliminary report in the journal AIDS that indicated growth hormone may be helpful in that respect. You should discuss this with your doctor and get his opinion.

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