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viralload and TCell changes without meds
Sep 10, 2001

I've been HIV positive for 2 years. In my last tests my viral load increased from 2800 to 20,000 and t-cells dropped from 505 to 479 in 4 mos. Is it possible my viral load could decrease and t-cell count increase significantly without meds? Is that common?

Response from Dr. Aberg

First let me assure you that you have not had a significant change in your CD4 count. A CD4 count could vary from 479 to 505 during the course of a day. Your viral load should be repeated again to confirm what it is. The viral load can vary as well but yours was slightly more than usual. You want to follow trends. Have your CD4 count and viral load measured every 3 months. If your viral load continues to rise, then you probably will need to start therapy sooner than if it stays low like this. Your viral load and CD4 count will vary slightly during the day and from day to day. You should talk with your doctor about the type of assays s/he is using and find out what the variability of the assay is. In other words, what is the range you could expect when your CD4 or viral load is x amount. Also, your CD4 count and viral load may vary depending on other health issues. Even a simple cold can cause a decrease in the CD4 count and increase in the viral load. So, yes, the changes in your CD4 count and viral load are commonly seen and you should continue to see your doctor for regular check-ups.


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