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CD4 Count
Dec 12, 2006

Dear Dr.Daar Iam a South African.I tested HIV positive two weeks ago.I am not sure when I contracted the virus but I have a feeling it could be about six years ago.The reason for testing was to find out my HIV status and not because of any symptoms or illness.My blood test showed a CD4 COUNT OF 507 and CD4% of 26. I did not have a viral load test done. I am not on any medication. My question is, can my CD4 count and my CD4% increase without taking any medication. If yes, what is it that I need to do for this to happen.If no, what can I do to maintain and/or prevent my CD4 count and my CD4% from decreasing. Thank you, James.

Response from Dr. Daar

Hi James,

First of all, the good news is that your CD4 cell count is excellent. As you follow them over time you will find that in general CD4 cell number and percent should remain relatively stable with a gradual decrease over years. However, it is important to note that they can increase and decrease in a variable fashion and you will need to get used to this so that you can interpret change appropriately. What you will be looking for over time is consistent trends downwards that might prompt you to consider initiating antiviral treatment.

Short of starting antiretroviral which will increase your numbers the best thing to do is maintain good nutrition, exercise, and avoid the use of tobacco, excessive alcohol or illicit drugs. Needless to say, I can't tell you with certainty that any of these things will maintain you CD4 cells but I do know that they are important for sustaining good health in everybody, including those with HIV.

Best, Eric


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