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'flu vaccine: much on its effect on viral load, but nothing on transient effect on T cells
Dec 23, 2003

Greetings, Dr. Boyle,

Can you please help me out with a few quick questions?

a. I know that one should wait 4 to 6 weeks after having the 'flu vaccine to do a T cell subset, because it affects the viral load transiently - but my doctor did a T cell set 2 weeks after giving me the 'flu vaccine and the CD4 number, percentage and CD4/CD8 ratio were all way higher. It felt great to see, but is the vaccine likely to have materially affected these numbers? (there is plenty of literature on the fact that the 'flu vaccine causes the viral load to go way up, but I can find nothing credible...no studies... on the transient affect of the vaccine on T cells). In my case, my CD4's went up 2/3 and my CD4 percent went up 18 compared to three months before. The ratio was up significantly too.

b. If the vaccine did cause the robust CD4 response, does this mean that I am likely to produce good antibodies? (I ask, becasue I have low normal B cells and low normal IgM and IgG sera).

c. If the vaccine doe stimulate production of large numbers of CD4 cells, does this accelerate the rate of HIV infection? (by presenting many more CD4 cells to be infected)?

d. What is a 100 safe time period after vaccination to get a reliable T cell subset - they say 4 to 6 weeks for reliable viral load, but what about CD4 numbers?

Is there any good news in my much higher CD4 numbers or just to be expected when the 'flu vaccine is given?

Many thanks and also for the fantastic job that you do on this website. It is very appreciated.

Happy holidays!

Response from Dr. Boyle

Short answer: I doubt that the flu vaccine had much effect on your CD4 count. Regarding the viral load, as you note, it is best to wait a couple of weeks after giving the vaccine to check that test since it may transiently blip up after the vaccine.



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