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t-cell percentage
Aug 8, 2005

Back in oct.,2004 my t cell count was 319 and the percentage was 14, and my viral load was undetectable,since then my t cell count has gone down to 208,the %is at 17,viral load is still undetectable.I'm concerened that its is the meds not working right anymore.My doctor tells me that the meds are working fine because the % went up,he said that they look at the % more then the actual number.Could you please explain what he is talking about.To me when then number goes down then something is not right.So if you could explain to me what the difference is between the actual number and the percent???

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

CD4+ T cells are a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell). To measure the CD4+ T cell count, we measure the percent of T cells that also express the CD4 marker on their surface (%CD4). To calculate the total CD4+ T cell count, we multiply the total number of white blood cells by the percentage of white blood cells that are lymphocytes, which gives us the total number of lymphocytes. We then multiply the total number of lymphocytes by the %CD4 to get the absolute CD4 count. The %CD4 is therefore a more direct measure of someone's CD4 + T cell count. Since the absolute count is calculated using the total white blood cell count and percentage of lymphocytes, anything that changes these numbers (such as an infection, medications, etc) will change the absolute lymphocyte count.


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