Does stress lead to CD4 count growth sometimes? just asking please tell me yes!!

Question

I was diagnosed HIV positive in 1992, February. I started HAART's in August 2005 with a CD4 Count of 81. Since January 2010, I have been under severe stress, emotionally and physically, my business has closed down. I currently consider myself to be very stressed, depressed, at my lowest point, confused and almost at a point of giving-up. In March 2009 my CD4 count was 310, In September 2009 it to 570 in six. I had my blood taken on Tuesday 23rd March 2010 and my CD4 count is 871 25 March 2010 (tests done this Tuesday at Lancert), I ask myself; does strees contribute to your CD4 count growth. My expectation was a higher viral load and a lower CD4 count. However the opposite is true. I am generally a happy person and outgoing, but of late I am not so well especially since I had an outburst of Herpes in the past few weeks and on Medication for that. My question remains; Does stress lead to CD4 count growth sometimes? just asking please tell me yes!!

Answer

The likely answer is probably yes. We don't have a lot of good data from studies to provide a definitive answer to your question. Stress and stress levels are difficult to objectively define (other than measuring things like blood cortisol levels) and everybody's coping strategies are different. Given the consistent rise in your CD4 count over two different measurements it's likely a real increase. Although I wouldn't advocate ongoing stressful situations to increase CD4 counts.