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T cell count
Jun 21, 2004

My daughter, who is HIV+ says her T cell count is 600. What exactly does that mean, and how advanced is she? Thank you, in advance for your reply.

Response from Dr. Lee

A normal T cell count is usually over 1000, although it may dip occasionally to even 400 in response to other infections. In HIV we see a drop in T cells (CD4 cells) over time which does not recover without adequate and long-term control of the HIV virus. This virus actually causes the destruction of T cells and therefore a drop in the numbers which are counted in the laboratory.

Generally there is little immune system dysfunction until after the T cells drop below around 300 and stay there. A T cell below 200 is considered significant immune depression and below 100 is considered severe. When the T cell count is decreased to 200 or below (with or without other infections) the diagnosis changes to that of AIDS.

Best wishes.

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