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CD4 increase without medication
May 5, 2008

my husband was diagnosed as HIV-2 + in 2003 his CD4 count was 580 then, in 2007 the CD4 count came down to 190, now again its at 480 without any medication, I am baffled by this as his Dr feels that the + test may be false.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Compared with HIV-1, HIV-2 is less efficient at infecting CD4 cells. In general, people living with HIV-2 do not progress as quickly with their HIV disease compared with those living with HIV-1. It is likely that when your husband had his CD4 count measured and the result came back with a count of 190, his doctor repeated the count to make sure the result was accurate. The repeat count of 480 was in the same ball park as his earlier count of 580. The difference may have been a "laboratory error" or have reflected the fact that CD4 counts do fluctuate over time. CD4 counts, for example, can drop during a viral infection or fever and then rebound afterwards. My suggestion would be to repeat the CD4 count in 3 months to see the trend over time. If the count is the same range as the 480 result, then periodic monitoring of the CD4 count would be recommended. HIV-2 viral loads are not readily available to assist in clinical monitoring. If your doctor is not convinced of the diagnosis of HIV-2, a repeat HIV-2 antibody test is not a bad idea.


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