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HIV Life >> Living With HIV

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Soloandlonely
Newbie

Reged: 01/05/11
Posts: 6
Please explain what these results mean
      #253860 - 01/10/11 04:53 PM

Dear,

I hope someone will be able to help with explaining what the following information mean?

Does it mean one needs treatment or not?

RNA copies : 160080 cp/ml

Log units : 5.204
CD4 ( 444)

Please answer..


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trulife
Fanatic

Reged: 12/01/10
Posts: 69
Loc: South
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253863 - 01/10/11 05:40 PM

Your lab results tell you that your viral load is 160080 which is considered high and your cd4 count is 444 which is below the normal immune system level of 500. Your specialist should be talking to you about medication options. The concern would be that your viral load is a little high and your immune system is showing signs of compromise so you need to make an informed decision whether or not to start meds. Understand that if and when you start meds, you must adhere to your med schedule to bring that viral load down to an undetectable level and increase your cd4 count. The higher the cd4 the better and lower the viral load the better.

Just to give you my side..I was diagnosed in Sept 2009 and last month my viral load was up high and my cd4 was still in the normal range but I decided to start meds to get the virus under control. I made this decision after talking with my ID specialist thoroughly. So far my side effects from the meds were limited and appear to all be gone so things are going well. I go back on the 20th to see how the meds are affecting my numbers. Most importantly, you need to get information and try to keep focused on keeping your health. This may be an emotional time for you, as for all of us, but things will get better. I am always here for support or info if you ever want to communicate. Take care.

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pozrunner
Member

Reged: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253874 - 01/12/11 03:48 AM

As in the previous posting you should speak to your doctor who is well informed of when you should start treatment and give you the options and then you make an informed decision. I recently started my treatment after being positive for three years but without checking numbers as I did not know and my doctor who is very well informed told me that I should have started sooner, my numbers were slightly worse than yours but your CD4 count is under 500 and that is usually an indication of when to start treatment. It is also going to be affected by your age, your general health status and your lifestyle as well, whether you smoke, exercise, eat nutritiously etc. You also do not indicate how long you have been positive for and how your numbers compare to previous results - often a progression can be helpful in determining where you are at. These figures cannot be looked at in isolation and many things need to be taken into consideration, including your kidney and liver function and your lipid profile and whether you have any other symptoms or signs of HIV infection, like I started to have latterly. Also whether you have any other lifestyle disorders or diseases and whether you are taking medication for other reasons. I too have managed to get over most of the side effects and tolerating my medicines well after one month but unfortunately will not be able to have my bloods tested to see how I am doing until the end of the month!
The taking of medication and the side effects most times outweighs the consequences of developing disease, but you should seriously consider lifestyle changes as well if you need to!
Good luck and keep us posted.

--------------------
30/11/2010 VL 216 006 CD4 216
Started Atripla Mon 13/12/2010

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DaveSF
Newbie

Reged: 01/14/09
Posts: 14
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253899 - 01/13/11 05:03 PM

If I were you, I'd definitely want to be starting treatment ASAP. Your viral load ("RNA copies") is relatively high, meaning that the virus is active and replicating. Your CD4 count is below ideal; you aren't likely to get any opportunistic infections at that level, but I personally get nervous when my CD4 falls below 500.

There's quite a wealth of evidence that it's bad to let your CD4 count fall too far. Those whose CD4 "nadir" (the lowest point their CD4 count hits) is lower have shorter longevity, statistically, and in some cases treatments are less effective.

Though you will find a lot of different opinions on this subject, I'm a believer in starting treatment earlier and maintaining the immune system you've got, rather than allowing it to get beaten down by HIV and then spending years trying to build it up again.

And after 30 years with HIV and more than 20 years on meds, I'm convinced that's the right strategy.

But everyone must make their own decision and decide what's right for them. This is a decision you should make with your doctor (and I hope you have a knowledgable HIV specialist; most general practitioners are not really qualified to be practicing HIV medicine, it takes a lot of specialized knowledge and constantly staying on top of changes and new developments.) I just cringe when I hear of people waiting, and waiting, and waiting to start treatment, until their immune system is severely compromised.

Good luck!

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AsianSpice
Newbie

Reged: 01/03/11
Posts: 7
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253922 - 01/16/11 05:46 PM

Hi, I really like what has been said here. I was diagnosed last March, CD4 had been below 500 from 3 consecutive tests before I finally insisted my doc to put me on meds. I didn't know why she was so reluctant to give me meds. I remember she kept telling me that I should not worry so much and that I should be blessed to be in America, but I told her that I grew up in America. I was going through a lot of terrible side effects from Atripla, and the doc who was a specialist was not there to answer any questions. Now I have changed a new doctor who is a infectious disease specialist. I got my blood work over a months ago after 6 weeks on Atripla, but I will learn the numbers tomorrow at the doc's office. I don't know what to say to him. I still have terrible side effects from Atripla. Anxiety, confusion, numbness, fast heartbeats, fatigue, and insominia. Can someone tell me what the best to do? Thanks a lot!!

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DaveSF
Newbie

Reged: 01/14/09
Posts: 14
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253923 - 01/16/11 06:26 PM

Be honest with your doctor and tell him about the symptoms you are experiencing. I'm not sure how long you have been on Atripla—10 weeks, if I am understanding correctly—but I think any side-effects should be diminishing or gone by now. The first step is to review the lab results and see if the Atripla is working for you. Assuming it is, you may want to give it a little more time, but if the side effects continue and are significant (and it sounds like they are) you need to work with your doctor to find a solution.

I gather from your email and from your user name that you're Asian. In my experience, Asian people are sometimes more sensitive to meds and sometimes seem to be more bothered by side effects than the average person. I don't know the reason, but it might just be that Asians are often on the smaller and lighter side. You might want to talk to your doctor about reducing the dosage of Atripla if you think that might be a factor for you (someone with a larger body weight can handle a larger dosage than someone with a lower body weight.) I have no idea if this might be part of the problem you're experiencing, but it's worth thinking about.

One of the drugs that is part of Atripla is Sustiva (efavirenz) which will cause some of those side effects, especially for the first few weeks. When I was taking Sustiva, I found I needed to take it right before bedtime, so that the effects happened while I was sleeping and I didn't really even notice them. If I took it during the day, I could hardly function. So maybe you should consider taking it at night, if you aren't already, and see if that helps. For whatever reason, I found that if the "Sustiva effects" kicked in while I was asleep, I could just keep on sleeping. But if they happened while I was awake, it was unpleasant. But everyone is different, so your experience may not be the same as mine.

But some people just aren't able to cope with the side-effects, they seem to be hit harder by them. In that case, your doctor can consider alternative regimens... there are lots of choices out there. Don't stick with a regimen that is making you miserable!

If I can help further, let me know. But being open with your doctor about what you are experiencing is going to be critical to finding the right solution.

Edited by DaveSF (01/16/11 06:29 PM)

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AsianSpice
Newbie

Reged: 01/03/11
Posts: 7
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253925 - 01/16/11 09:22 PM

Dave, thank you so much for your prompt response. I am going to discuss all these with my doctor tomorrow. I have been on Atripla since October 23, 2010. I am still coping with the aftermath of the diagnosis in addition to being on the meds. I want to say " Thank you" for your kindness. I am so grateful to have you as a good friend here. You have made my day!!!

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DaveSF
Newbie

Reged: 01/14/09
Posts: 14
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253926 - 01/16/11 09:48 PM

Glad to help... good luck with your doctor's visit tomorrow (I am optimistic that you'll at least have some good news on your lab results!) But if you really can't tolerate the Atripla, tell your doctor that you want to look at alternatives. Atripla is nice and easy - one pill - but swallowing three pills instead of one is better than suffering side effects that make you miserable.

For what it's worth, I took Sustiva (the medicine in Atripla that I suspect is causing your ill effects) for several years, but it sometimes left me feeling groggy and strange in the morning, especially on those days when I couldn't get a full 7-8 hours sleep. My doctor and I decided to switch it out for a different drug. It's still available to me if I ever needed to go back to it, but I'm not missing it.

Having said that, it's a very effective drug, and if there weren't other good options, I'd go back to taking it. We're lucky today to have enough treatment options to be able to mix and match a bit, based on how particular drugs work for (and affect) us as individuals.

Have a great week!

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AsianSpice
Newbie

Reged: 01/03/11
Posts: 7
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253938 - 01/17/11 04:12 PM

Hi, Dave. I made to the doctor's office today. CD4 513. VL 450 after 6 weeks, but I am on Atripla for 3 months now. I will switch to a new drug tomorrow. Keep up the hope. Thank you! You have a good week too!

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DaveSF
Newbie

Reged: 01/14/09
Posts: 14
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253939 - 01/17/11 05:48 PM

Hey there, that's great! You didn't say what your previous numbers were, but I think your said the CD4 was under 500, and I'm sure the VL was a lot higher. VL of 450 is pretty much nothing (the scale can go all the way into the millions) and I imagine it will come down to undetectable soon.

Best of all, it sounds like your doctor listened to your complaints and you're changing your regimen to eliminate those side effects. Good luck with the new med, and let me know how it goes. I'm sending you good thoughts!

Hugs,

Dave

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new2this2010
Expert

Reged: 06/22/10
Posts: 119
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253958 - 01/20/11 09:37 AM

Have you considered asking your doctor to explain the results to you?

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Soloandlonely
Newbie

Reged: 01/05/11
Posts: 6
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253969 - 01/21/11 06:29 AM

Thank you for your response, I'm not the one positive my boyfriend is, so i need to find out these things for him as he seems to still be in "shock mode" we broke up for a month in September and got back together again in Oct and we went for test and he was pos and I was neg.
Till he accepts and deals with this I will have to be the one that finds out all the info for him..;-(
His DR said its normal for his results to be like this cause he just got infected???

Is this okay/true?

Thank you guys.

Edited by Soloandlonely (01/23/11 01:59 PM)

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pozrunner
Member

Reged: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Re: Please explain what these results mean new
      #253970 - 01/21/11 07:06 AM

I understand your story and the anxiety it is causing for you to help out your partner, but ultimately he will need to take responsibility for his own health and learn as much about the disease as possible and the treatments etc. I am not sure why the doctor told you that he was recently infected as VL and CD4 count do not give an indication of how long you have been infected for. Some people progress slowly and others more quickly, and his CD4 count is already below the accepted 500 level which means that this would be quick if he only seroconverted very recently. Some people remain above 500 for many years with the infection.
You should both go to see the Dr together and discuss all the possibilities and make sure that you are seeing an infectious diseases doctor who deals with HIV patients on a regular basis and who is up to date on the disease and its management. It may help for both of you to go to counseling as well, but if not you should make sure that you are communicating very deeply on this issue and hopefully you can help him through his denial and to get to accepting that he has HIV and to understand that whatever happens, it, is not going to change so he needs to take care of himself and get the best possible advice and treatment from his doctors and others knowledgeable in this field.
Good luck and hope all goes well for you both.

--------------------
30/11/2010 VL 216 006 CD4 216
Started Atripla Mon 13/12/2010

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