Late HIV Diagnosis: Have I Been Doing Well Enough on Treatment?

Question

Hi Doctor. Seven years ago at a routine check I found HIV infection with a CD4 =150,CD8=650 and viral load=3000. At total lymphocyte count was 900 and the total number of leukocytes 3400 and was still it many years at this level. Ever since, I started treatment (Kivexa, Reyataz, Norvir). Today I have an undetectable viral load and CD4 = 840, total lymphocyte count 2400 and total leukocytes count 7000. 1.My evolution until today is good? 2.Can anyone survive the infection for 20-25 years without drugs? Why I had a viral load so low? 3.It is normal for a person who is on medication have higher CD8?(in my case CD8=1000)

Thank you for answers and I want to say that do an excellent job.

Answer

  1. Your response has been fabulous, and speaks to how successful HIV medications are in controlling the infection and repairing the immune system.
  2. There is a small population of people that have HIV infection and who don't require treatment, as their own immune system is able to control the virus. They are not cured, but have very low to undetectable HIV viral loads and normal CD4 counts. Everyone has their own set-point of where the HIV viral load stays in the absence of therapy. So yours was low, while other people can have much higher viral loads.
  3. Yes. In general, when people become infected with HIV, their CD8 count increases. It turns out that CD8 cells are very important in controlling the virus, and so the CD8 number increases after infection.