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low cd4 and viral load
May 3, 2001

Doctor could you help me understand my numbers.Tested pos and diagnosised with aids.Had continually tested neg each year prior and i know the source of infection.My CD4 235 VL 4500 AND 8.Less than 3 months after diagnosis was diagnosised with Advanced NHL.How could the virus have damaged my immunesystem so quickly; that within 16 months of been neg got Aids and then an Aids defining cancer. Since starting meds have been undectable since Sept last year,took 10 weeks to be undectable and CD4 289 18 .Still been treated with chemotherapy.Is it possible it was conincidental the NHL and HIV,just want to understand my body and move forward.No denial issues is trying to understand how the virus trashed my immunesystem som quickly.Thank you.

Response from Dr. Pavia

My best guess is that you had a double dose of bad luck. I suspect that the lymphoma was developing at the time you were infected, since it is unlikely that it could go from the first malignant cell to advanced disease in 3 months. As you probably know, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are not rare cancers in HIV negative people. In addition, your viral load seems to low to blame the HIV for causing the tumor.

CD4 counts can be very low in the setting of active NHL. CD4 counts are almost always low during chemo for NHL, since CD4 cells are lymphocytes, and the chemo is targeted at killing lymphocytes. Hopefully, once you stop chemo, your immune system will start to recover nicely, although it may take a few months to bounce back from chemo. Chemo is no picnic, as you know all to well.

Hope this helps, and good luck

ATP



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