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HIV Life >> I Just Tested Positive

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Reged: 08/18/08
Posts: 6
First Numbers: Kind of weird
      #243844 - 01/13/09 05:45 PM


I got my first numbers today, and they weren't quite what I expected. I was hoping I could go a few years without medication, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

cd4: 209

So, my VL is relatively low, but my cd4 is just hovering above diagnosable AIDS. The Doctor was a bit shocked both at the difference in the numbers and because I'm relatively healthy. I understand that these numbers are just a snapshot at that moment at time. I was under stress at the time, and recovering from a mild cold.

We decided to retest again in a month. I'm sort of suspecting he gave me that option just to get used to the idea of being on meds, not because he expects them to miraculously jolt above 350. Am I wrong in thinking that?

I mean, I guess I don't expect them to. I am just kind of rambling.

Anyway, I was wondering if, at this point, there was anything I can do to encourage the cd4 to go up a little bit. If only just so they don't drop below 200.

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Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #243850 - 01/13/09 09:16 PM

We're all so different that it's hard to say what one person's CD4 will or won't do. I had an experience once when my CD4 were near that magic 200 and then my next blood draw had them up in the 400's. It was probably the biggest change I've ever had.

CD4s can be just so variable. I can't guarantee anything, but try to reduce stress in your life. Eat well. Get sleep.

Good Luck

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Reged: 12/21/05
Posts: 1390
Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #243860 - 01/14/09 05:06 PM

Sorry to be brief but I am in a hurry.
First: I thoiught its common practice to start meds immediately, if your CD4 count is under 350. (But I understand why you want to test again).
Second: you are at risk of opportunistic infections with a CD4 count that low, so are you on a PCP propylaxis? If not I suggest you see your Infectious Disease specialist and get with the program.

6 ft tall poz bear in Philadelphia

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Reged: 01/15/09
Posts: 14
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #243869 - 01/15/09 02:59 AM

You don't say when you think you might have been infected. If this was your first time to be tested, you could have been positive for some time. Also, different variants of the HIV virus impact the immune system at different rates, some are more virulent than others.

Here are a few things I'd keep in mind:

1. The CD4 count by itself isn't that meaningful. It will rise and fall with the number of total lymphocytes, which can vary from day to day and even hour to hour. More useful metrics are the CD4/CD8 ratio, and the percentage of total lymphocytes which are CD4 cells. If the ratio and percentage are ok but the absolute number is low, that may not be so worrisome, although a number around 200 would definitely have me wanting to start treatment.

2. A single lab report isn't the most useful thing either. Sometimes you have a "blip" up or down on a single report, for inexplicable reasons. The most valuable information is found in trends. After your next report in a month, you'll have two different datapoints and the start of a trend. You'll know if your numbers are getting better, getting worse, or staying the same. So try not to freak out too much from this first report. This is probably one of the main reasons your doctor wanted to test again in a month.

3. If the report in a month is similar to the one you just got, you should definitely start meds (in my opinion.) Your doctor should probably be ordering phenotype/genotype tests now (they take some time to do) so he/she will be able to determine the best meds to take if you need to start treatment.

4. Most people respond very well to antiretroviral therapy, and the side-effects of today's drugs are generally minor or even nonexistent. So try not to stress out (it's bad for you!)– I am sure you'll do fine.

Hope I was of some help!

Dave in SF

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Reged: 12/06/08
Posts: 130
Loc: NY, NY
Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #243898 - 01/16/09 02:59 AM

i tested pos in oct at that time my vl was 64,000

early december it was 6,200 cd4

mid december vl 23,000 cd4 327 cd8 595 0.55 ratio

early january vl 9,600 cd4 384 cd8 717 0.54 ratio

more labs tomorrow...

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Reged: 01/22/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Australia
Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #244043 - 01/22/09 11:17 PM

I have to agree with what the other guys have said, but in the mean time DO NOT STRESS!. That will only make things worse for you.
I guess I am one of the lucky ones. It is now 21 years since I was diagnosed, and I have been lucky enuff to not have to go on to meds so far. However, I may have to start soon, as my last results were not very good. CD4 380 (17%), and VL 64,000. Not real bad, but a drop from previous tests. I have never wanted to go on meds, but the reality is finally hitting me that the time may have come.
May I suggest that you look at complimentary therapies also, to help reduce stress, and to boost your immune system. I take a few supplements, like VIT C, B, zinc, spirulina Q10, etc. I also like to have a massage from time to time, which is useful for reducing stress. Other people I know do Yoga, meditation, etc.
Good luck with your next test results.

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Reged: 12/06/08
Posts: 130
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Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #244055 - 01/23/09 03:49 AM

curious what is spirulina and q10?

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Reged: 12/04/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Chicago
Re: First Numbers: Kind of weird new
      #244424 - 02/09/09 05:00 PM

Just go ahead and start the meds. I worried for months about starting, tried to postpone as long as I could, but I soon dropped below 350 CD4 and then hit 306 pretty fast. Once you start, you can stop thinking about it. Just remember to take your pills every day. My body's response has been exemplary. CD4 count is rising rapidly, viral load to undetectable in about 6 weeks. I feel great, no side effects. Six months later I have 100% compliance with medication regimen. No problems. My combo is Reyataz + Truvada + Norvir. Remember: Once you start taking your pills, you are in control, not the virus. That's a completely different state of mind.

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