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recently diagnosed--interpreting (the strange) test results...

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About two months ago, I received my initial hiv-positive diagnosis, despite being vigilant with safe-sex.  Since then, I've had three sets of tests done, with rather odd results.  They were:

1st test:  CD4:  300 (20%), viral load:  2,100
2nd test:  CD4:  695 (33%), viral load:  300
3rd test:  CD4:  770 (30%), viral load:  400

The tests were each taken about three weeks apart, and I'm not on any drug regimen and haven't done anything differently.  Reading through the many posts on this forum, it seems that my results are atypical--especially pre-HAART.  The ID specialist whom I'm seeing is also puzzled.  He thinks that the initial test might have been incorrect--given the dramatic variances in the CD4 (and %) numbers--but he's not sure. 

Has anyone seen similar progressions/patterns before?  How would you interpret these results?  The viral load figures seem low--are they too low to seriously consider the various drug regimens?  I would be very interested in your thoughts and feedback...


Hey Surprised

Welcome to the forums, I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

Your numbers are indeed interesting. It's quite common to see a rebound in the CD4 number and the CD4 % after seroconversion, when viral load is typically high. That fact that you're CD4% has changed so much indicates that the first lower numbers are due to HIV.

But as you say, your VLs are low, and may never have been that high. I have a friend who had a similar pattern and is shaping up to be a long-term non progressor - he can just control it w/o drugs for the moment and has a very low VL and a very good CD4 count.

Definitely agree it's worth you testing again, but I wouldn't hold your breath as the tests are very accurate. Personally, I wouldn't consider going on drugs with a CD4 of 770 that's heading in a very good direction. I'd see where it tops off and see where the VL is at and then make a decision. You have to look at trends, and not get too hung up on an individual set of numbers. There's no proven benefit yet of starting meds earlier than 350, although there's lots of talk about it right now.

All the best,


wow.. well first, the test themselves have a pretty steep margin of error.. but not THAT much.. I went from 16 ts to 150 in 4 weeks, but that was at the start of my first regimen.. your viral load is VERY low.. 700 ts can actually be considered a normal level.. typical range is around 600 to 1100.. give or take.. depending on who you talk to.. its hard to guage the ts unless you know a specific date of infection.. could be your immune system has had a chance to respond aggressively to the virus, but it seems like ts were kind of low initially for a brand new infection.. vaaries from person to person.. lots of factors could have been in play and Im certainly no doctor.. Id be having a beer  ::) and thanking that gift horse right about now..


Not everyone responds in what is considered a 'normal' way to HIV infection.  My numbers bounced all around and then hopped back up to my first CD4 test, and then just crashed.  I would be very pleased with the numbers you have...they're very excellent.  And yes, the low VL could indicate that you are indeed a 'long term non-progressor'...only time will tell.  I know it must feel like quite a mixed blessing considering what this good news is about, but you will adjust and I'm sure you have a long bright future ahead :D

Best of luck and much love,

Surprised, do you have an idea of when you might have been infected?

When is your next test due? 3 weeks is a short time between tests with those results, but they look fantastic!



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