HIV and blood-test results- Any health tips to stay healthy?


Dear Dr.Vergel, Im 37. Ive been HIV positive since April 2007, so far not on meds, but my latest CD4 count and a regular blood test results showed that something is going on?! CD4 count fell from 640(34%) in February, to 395 (30%) in June. Some other relevant results which used to be OK are now either elevated or decreased: WBC 3.06 (relevant 4.0-10.8), PLT 215 (130-400), %NEUT 37.8 (40-74), %MONO 9.3 (3.4-9.0), %LUC 4.6 (0.0-4.0), #NEUT 1.2 (1.9-8.0) Does this has something to do with the current virus activity? Does this mean that it is time for starting with the meds? And if so, can I expect with starting the meds that my blood results will be fine again or I still have to combine with some other meds/supplements in order to make the blood results within the normal values?


Talk to your doctor about running another CD4 cells test again to ensure that your dip was just not an isolated event. If your CD4 cells are 500 or below, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. I am not sure in which country you live, though. Access and guidelines change in different countries.

I would also keep in mind the different health tips I list here:

Drink lots of water and avoid sodas and fruits juices (eat fruit instead, you need the fiber.)

Monitor your fasting cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, liver and kidney functions every 3-6 months.

Exercise with weights/machines 34 times a week for an hour, and also do cardiovascular exercise (elliptical trainer, fast walking, light jogging, etc.) for at least 30 minutes a day after weight training. Make sure that you sweat!

Cut sugars, maximize good protein and good fats (olive oil and cold water fish), fruits and vegetables of all colors. Do not skip breakfast!

Take at least a multivitamin a day with meals.

Motivate yourself with a buddy, support group, and surround yourself with smart and up-beat people. Find your life purpose

Have nutrition-dense snacks available and never get too hungry or too thirsty. Examples are nuts, hard boiled eggs, lean meats, tuna, milk/cheese if you can tolerate it, whole grains. No white bread and watch your sweets!

If you have to, use stimulants wisely and in moderation (coffee and green tea)

Get good quality sleep

Manage stress with relaxation techniques, hobbies, and learning to let go of anger and unrealistic expectations

Get a least 20 minutes a day of sunshine. Your body needs it to make Vitamin D for bone health

Take your meds on time to keep your viral load undetectable to remain healthy and to minimize the risk of infecting others

Treat depression quickly with exercise, therapy, antidepressants, and a good support system

If you've never had hepatitis A or B, ask your doctor about getting vaccinated against them.

See a dentist twice a year. The first signs that your HIV infection is getting worse often appear in the mouth.

See your doctor every 3 months. This will allow your doctor to track changes in your viral load and T cell count. Talk to him or her about newer, more "side effect friendly" medicines.

It's important to avoid activation of the immune system. Treat any non-HIV illnesses you experience as soon as possible. These illnesses activate the immune system.

If your T (or CD4) cell count is less than 200, take medication to prevent PCP, a pneumonia that can kill you.

If your T (or CD4) cell count is less than 50 cells, take medication to prevent MAC, a bacterial infection that can kill you.

If you have more than 200 T cells, get a Pneumovax every 5 years. Pneumovax is a vaccine against bacterial pneumonia.

I hope this gives you a general idea of important health tips to be aware to stay healthy.