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Author Topic: Understanding Lab Results  (Read 6762 times)

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Offline wow1969

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Understanding Lab Results
« on: August 08, 2008, 02:26:33 PM »
Hi,

Just got my first lab results in. I was infected and converted within the last year.

Here are my numbers
CD4 - 310
VL 5950
CD% 19
Zero Drug Resistance

Good, bad, HUH?

Any interrpretation would be appreciated.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 02:51:23 PM »
Well, on one hand your numbers are far from a disaster, but on the other hand they're maybe not indicating that you're going to go years without dealing with meds either.  But of course one should never make judgments based on one set of data, and I'd see what your next set of numbers are.

Have you read this yet:

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/BloodTest_5030.shtml

For example, I'd look mostly at your CD4% at this juncture, and at 19% it's 2 % pts lower than what indicates a functioning immune system.  However, it's 5 % points above indicating that your immune system is severely damaged, so that's good.  Not great but good.  Not sure by looking at your old posts if you concretely know the relative time of your infection.  Your viral load certainly is not that high for someone not on medication yet, that's for sure.  Another plus in your favor.

However, your actual CD4 of 310, while not in AIDS-land, is still in the ballpark of recommended start of treatment.  But it's only 40 below the 350 current recommendation marker, so I'd not freak out.  I'd still be prudent and begin to familiarize myself with treatment options though, just to mentally prepare.  Obviously not showing any resistance at this point gives you a clear slate for consideration of all medications, so that's another point in your favor.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 02:53:04 PM by philly267 »
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 02:56:05 PM »
I know, not great, but not bad either. I was expecting better. I just want to avoid meds for at least another year. Im beginning to look at transitioning to another job and don't want the insurance hassles.

No, I know when I was infected and when I converted. It was with in the last year for conversion (Dec - Jan) and 15 months ago from today for infection. I was tested five times last year and negative each time. I even know who infected me.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 03:08:25 PM »
Well darling, we don't care who just when :)

So, I guess if you really are sure of when then I'd definitely want to see how the numbers shift on subsequent tests.  I'll be interested to see what others indicate.  I know that there's some chart floating around somewhere that graphs the average infection ebb and flow lab number timeline.  It's just a projection based on averages of course, but it would give you a clearer picture.

Oh... cool -- I just found it on my computer drive.



Your numbers still don't particularly fit well into that, but thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

As far as "insurance hassles" there shouldn't be any as long as you are currently insured, and don't have any lag time in between coverage when you move to a new job.  I switched jobs 3 months after being diagnosed and commencing meds myself, and that was back in the dark ages 15 years ago and had no issues, though I understand why on the surface it might worry you.  I'd consider it unfounded, at least in my experience.   If it makes you feel better go to a local ASO and discuss the legal side of such worries with a case manager.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 03:16:43 PM »
Thanks for the info about insurance.

The chart you posted is for the progression of HIV to AIDS in an individual who does not go on meds. It projects that the individual willl die in about 11 years after infection if they do not start therapy.

I'll be a pill poppin fool before I allow myself to drop dead in 11 years. Ok, another fun day. YAY!! Another emotional roller coaster ... I could kill my ex for this. Thankfully I'm working from home today so it's peaceful and I can take a nap in a minute. Off to sleepy time

BTW ... How many started having really weird dreams right after being diagnosed? I dream and dream and dream ...

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 03:24:39 PM »
Well yeah, of course it's in the absence of meds.  But it's still a useful tool to know what the rate is... duh.

I would suspect the dreams are from the stress, but then I'm not a licensed psychiatrist.  Personally I've had more vivid dreams in periods of intense stress.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2008, 07:21:03 AM »
According to that graph, I'm already dead. And here all this time I though I was just slightly depressed.

Seriously though, that graph is nothing more than a VERY general guide. I've been poz for eleven years, no need for meds yet.

Wow, you're still fairly early into your infection. Keep monitoring your numbers. They could go either way at this point, so keep a close eye on them.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline J.R.E.

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  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2008, 08:35:43 AM »

Wow, you're still fairly early into your infection. Keep monitoring your numbers. They could go either way at this point, so keep a close eye on them.

Ann


Just want to second, what Ann said. Continue monitoring those numbers, and lets see what the trend is saying.


Take care----Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2008, 10:46:09 AM »
Thanks for the info ... I'm already watching closely. I need to talk to my Dr. about it all. I know my numbers aren't terribly I was just wishing they were better. I've been reviewing other people's trends on here and everyone fluctuates in all directions so I guess I need to accept that it will change eveytime I go in and get lab work done.

Also, anyone have any suggestions about lifestyle, eating, supplements that can help improve the immune system?

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 11:51:34 AM »
.

Also, anyone have any suggestions about lifestyle, eating, supplements that can help improve the immune system?

Yeah, don't wade into the Nutrition forum here.  It's chock full of crazy.

At any rate it's hard to give you advice without knowing what your current nutrition habits are.  No need to go overboard with all of this, as many newly diagnosed do.  Basic stuff like minimizing junk food (though yes, you can still eat the occasional cheeseburger), not smoking, and a basic multi-vitamin.

If you're currently addicted to alcohol and/or any other drugs you might want to deal with that.  If not, no -- one glass of red wine a day is not going to kill you, etc.  I've always found it important to balance improving one's nutrition with not making life boring and unbearable either, or what's the point?

Oh, and here's a big one:  if you ever feel prolonged anxiety and/or depression issues due to your diagnosis, please avail yourself of a licensed therapist.  Never feel any shame about doing so, or let the issue develop so far that it goes into crisis mode.  It's also very important to develop a support group of sorts among close friends/family you've disclosed to.  Don't allow yourself to become isolated.  I can't stress how important the mental aspect to dealing with HIV infection is.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 11:55:10 AM by philly267 »
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 12:08:21 PM »
Well, I run 5K and 1/2 marathons and tend to eat pretty healthy except for the recent past ... I hardly drink (maybe a glass of wine a month) and have never used drugs. As for junk food, I pretty much hate it. Multi-vitamin is already a part of my daily life.

I know there are some herbal supplements that help with immune system boosting and am wondering about those in particular. My partner has suggested a few (he's a herbal sup nut job) but I'm not sure about his suggestions and how they would relate to HIV.

Thanks for the idea about a therapist but I'm alright as far as depression and stuff ... It's just been alot to deal with so my main thing is stress. I'm taking most of next week off to just veg around the house, play with the dog, work out and go to the park ... basically decompression time which my schedule hasn't allowed for until this week. I can hardly wait. I'll also go to my first HIV support group meeting next week as well.

Offline BT65

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 12:24:01 PM »
I know there are some herbal supplements that help with immune system boosting and am wondering about those in particular. My partner has suggested a few (he's a herbal sup nut job) but I'm not sure about his suggestions and how they would relate to HIV.

Be very careful with supplements.  If you do decide to take one (or some) check with your doctor first.  There's someone who posts on these boards who quit meds and just relies on supplements; if you look at his signature line, his viral load has climbed into the hundreds of thousands.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 01:42:41 PM »
I have to agree with Bettytacy, unless your ID doctor tells you to go on supplements or vitamins then don't.

Offline J.R.E.

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  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 04:51:54 PM »
Yeah, don't wade into the Nutrition forum here.  It's chock full of crazy.


It's not all "chock full of crazy."  :P

At any rate, this site offers a lesson on nutrition. Click below for that :

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/Nutrition_7670.shtml

At a mimimum, you should probably do at least a once a day multiple Vitamin. But if you decide on adding other supplements, talk to your doctor first.


Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline loop78

  • Member
  • Posts: 147
Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2008, 05:06:09 PM »
Gotta repeat what everybody's already said. Your infection is relatively recent, so numbers can still fluctuate quite a bit. Look at my numbers in the signature ;)

Anyway, you'll need a couple of numbers more before you can see where they're going, and right now you've got no reason to be worried.

Offline PozitivelySouthern

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2008, 07:07:28 PM »
Geez Loop!

I would like to know how you got your blood work so soon after your diagnosis. I was diagnosed the same month as you. It took me 2 months just to get in to the office of a reputable ID doctor here and I finally had blood drawn a week ago. I still have 2 more weeks to go before the ID doc sees me again to give me the results. I'm not scared...but I am really tired of waiting to know where I stand.
05/28/08 Diagnosed
08/04/08 CD4 268 (24.4%) VL 3,310
09/08/08 CD4 316 (22.6%) VL 2,400
09/09/08 Started Atripla
10/31/08 CD4 389 (27.8%) VL Undetectable - Yay!
01/29/09 CD4 406 VL Undetectable
04/30/09 CD4 513 (27%) VL Undetectable.
10/27/09 CD4 560 (28%) VL Undetectable.
03/09/10 CD4 536 (33.5%) VL 96
12/02/10 CD4 514 (32.1%) VL Undetectable.
06/16/11 CD4 446 (29.7%) VL <20
11/11/11 CD4 608 (30.4%) VL 170

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2008, 07:20:57 PM »
That's just a scheduling issue.  It has nothing to do with how long it takes to get the actual lab results, or it shouldn't.  I get my blood taken the week before every actual medical appointment, and the results have always been in by that time.  Actually I think they turn it around even quicker than that looking at the dates of "blood taken" and "results transmitted" on my forms, but then my doctor is downtown in a large city, and the actual lab is across the river in New Jersey.

And in terms of scheduling for an appointment an initial visit by a new patient is going to take much longer than a patient that is just in for a regular check on blood work that has been routinely stable for years.  Depending on how busy your ID doctor is there will less of such slots open.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline BT65

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2008, 07:26:06 PM »
I always have the lab send me copies of my bloodwork and I get it (usually all of it) about a week later.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline wow1969

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  • Posts: 208
Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2008, 08:47:11 PM »
PozSouthern - I think it has to do with two primary factors: 1) I live in Atlanta which is credited with being HIV Ground Zero so there are lots of ID doctors around and, 2) My GP is heavily networked throughout this town and she just made a few phone calls for me. Also, my ID is an HIV specialist who does research and such with the disease so that probably means he has developed the necessary contacts to get things done quickly. Truthfully, I thought it was taking too long. It took two weeks after the sucked out 7 viles of my blood for various testing before I got results. I totallly agree with you though, the waiting and not knowing is by far the worst part of all of this.

Thanks for the info so far to everyone else. I'm only exploring options and will hold off on the supplements until I've spoken to my dr.


Offline Philly1972

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  • Posts: 40
Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2008, 09:50:21 PM »
wow,
As I think you know by now, I was infected New Year's Eve of this year (way to kick off 2008!!) - converted in January and my Black Wednesday was July 2nd - one day after yours.  I am 36.  Now I know that everyone is different so this is only what is working for me.  This has been part of my daily lifestyle for at least 6 mos. and I believe contributed to my numbers.  I start each day with a protein shake (I like Muscle Milk) to which I add fruit, ground flax seed and a scoop of Green Vibrance (contains probiotics and freeze dried-every good for you fruit & veggie on the planet) - on workout days I have another protein shake after my workout.  I work out 2-3X/week and do some form of exercise almost every day (run, swim, bike, etc.).  I use a liquid multi-vitamin called Alive which is all natural and made from real foods.  I eat VERY healthy with few exceptions.  The bad stuff - I drink (rarely), smoke (weekends) and use some party drugs recreationally (maybe 1-2 weekends a month on average).  Like I said, this has been my lifestyle well before finding out the news.  Since then, I stopped the smoking and added selenium to my supplements which I've read is good for the immune system.  My first numbers were CD4 700, 40%, ratio 1.1, VL 2420, no resistance.  Doc told me to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing and that's what I've been doing.  My next appnt and blood draw is on Sept 15th and I will be very interested to see where things have gone by then.  I bought a book off of Amazon called "Built to Survive"....I recommend it.  You said in your other post that you were taking a drug that is known to lower your CD4 count and stays in your system several months.  I really think you need to consider that in your low CD4 count, since it just not seem to make sense given your low VL.

Offline loop78

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2008, 05:56:02 AM »
Geez Loop!

I would like to know how you got your blood work so soon after your diagnosis. I was diagnosed the same month as you. It took me 2 months just to get in to the office of a reputable ID doctor here and I finally had blood drawn a week ago. I still have 2 more weeks to go before the ID doc sees me again to give me the results. I'm not scared...but I am really tired of waiting to know where I stand.

I guess I was just lucky. I was diagnosed at medical center specialized in STI. As soon as the Elisa came out clearly positive, even before the WB was ready, they had me have the initial blood draw for cd4 and viral load. They have an ID doctor there with whom I had the first two appointments about the results. Afterwards I was referred to ID specialist in a hospital, just in case I turned out to need meds soon, as here meds can only be given in hospitals. I got my first appointment there sooner than usual, because the mother of a friend of mine is a nurse there ;)

Anyway, it's my understanding that here results are ready about 3-4 days after the blood is taken, except the viral load one, because that one is only done in one hospital, and takes around 12 days.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2008, 11:07:48 AM »
My most recent tests actually show a turn around of ONE day - 30 hours actually, as it lists the time and date (collection, received, reported).  Most of my older ones show a turn around of 3 days.  The lab is about 50 miles from where my blood is collected.

Am I reading this correctly -- I use LabCorps if anyone else commenting does to.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2008, 05:25:33 PM »
We'll see how it all turns out over the next six months I'm sure ... Not really worried just wondering ... I'm getting to a point where worry isn't so much an issue anylonger as it hasn't helped me deal with anything any better than not worrying.

Thanks to everyone for the posts ...

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2008, 02:34:05 PM »
Just spoke to my Dr about my lab results - last week he was out of the office and his nurse gave me the numbers -

Here's his take on this ... He thinks my numbers are good in his experience with HIV. He does not want to start me on meds until he's had at least one more test to look at the trend but he will probably do two more tests. So I have another visit with the vampires in October. Damn bloodsuckers LOL

Also,he doesn't worry much about the CD4% as he focus's on the actual VL as the primary indicator. I had read that there was alot of discrepency regarding which numbers to use and little uniform agreement as to which the best approach. Considering most of my Dr.'s patients are HIV poz and he's been an ID for about 20 years, I'm gonna trust his judgement until I have reason to do otherwise.

So basically, right now, I"m not on meds, overall I'm healthy .... Guess life as usual.


Offline Philly1972

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2008, 03:48:07 PM »
I'm surprised he has you waiting a whole 3 months to see where things are moving considering the CD4 was low.  Have you gotten your vaccine shots yet for Hep A&B and pneumonia?  I ask because the Hep vaccine is a series of 3 shots and the second is in 6 weeks - so my next appnt was made for 6 weeks so I could get my next shot and take the next round of tests. 

Offline wow1969

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Re: Understanding Lab Results
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2008, 04:19:09 PM »
Yep, I am vaccinated for everything on the planet at this point. I do international travel for work so keep all those shots up to date.

He's not worried about my numbers actually. I'm trusting his judgement as he's one of the top ID specialists in the country. Not gonna worry or second guess this one until I have to.

 


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