why is my cd8 so high

Question

Dear Dr: You may think my question is suitable for this sit, but my sistuation is very strange. I was raped in early 1999. I have been devastated ever since. In the next 23 months, I have done many times elisa test1&2 or 1 and all the tests wever negative. The thing makes me scare to death is my cd8 count. I did the first one in Jun 2000. My cd4 was 830, 33, my cd8 was 960 37 and ratio is 0.89. I did it again in Nov 2000. My cd4 was 870, 30, my cd8 was 1160, 40 and the ratio became 0.75. I also did two tests for STD and all negative. I really don't understand why cd8 is so high? please please help me.

Answer

CD4 and CD8 cell counts are completely unreliable as indicators of HIV infection. There are a number of other viral infections such as mononucleosis ("mono") which may cause CD4 and CD8 changes which closely resemble the changes observed in HIV infection. If repeated HIV antibody testing has been negative 6 and 12 months after the exposure then I would not be particulary concerned about HIV infection. There are a number of causes for abnormal CD4 and CD8 cell counts (yours are only minimally abnormal). If these changes persist, worsen or you become ill, then I expect your physician would perform additional studies to further evaluate these findings or refer you to a specialist.