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Author Topic: What's happening with my numbers?  (Read 1632 times)

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Offline cubbybear

  • Member
  • Posts: 510
  • Joined August 2005.
What's happening with my numbers?
« on: August 08, 2006, 12:00:04 AM »
Hi Everyone.

Just got back from my ID doc, and my latest numbers and trend has left me a bit flat and dissapointed. 

Here are my numbers from Sept last year when I was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to July this year.

Sep. 05      VL 293,000             CD4% 7.1            CD4 35

Nov. 05      VL Undetect.          CD4% 8.9             CD4 204

Jan. 06       VL Undetect.          CD4% 12.1           CD4 181

Apr. 06       VL Undetect.          CD4% 11.1          CD4 197

Jul. 06        VL Undetect.          CD4% 12.1           CD4 193


As you can see, my VL has been undetectable since right after starting meds which is good, but why has both my CD4% and CD4 count seemed to plateau already?  I've been on meds for about 10 months now, perhaps I am expecting too much?  I don't mind them plateauing now, as long as they slowly increase but they seem to have been stuck hovering around the pre-200 mark since January this year.  I'm worried these numbers are going to be a common ground for me, and I'm just not happy with that.  I was hoping to be at least over 200, I was hoping for about 230 - 250 by now. 

I'm sick of numbers.  All my other blood work was good.  My cholesterol is excellent, my glucose is good, my LFT was a little high but it has been since I started meds, and only slightly, and my CK (Creatine) was also a little above norm, but apparently nothing to worry about.  I got a cold/flu the week after I had my last bloods taken, but didnt start getting flu symptoms till a good week after my blood draw.  (Which incidentally has almost resolved now, it only lasted about a week before my body evicted it!)

Can someone please either reassure me, give me a reality check or both about my numbers!  Are they okay?  I'm just sick of them damn CD4's looking like they've frozen in time.

Hugs as always.
Matt

Truvada/Efavirenz Junkie
There's a bear in there!
Positive since 2000
Diagnosed 17/9/2005 CD4 35 VL 293,000
Meds 23/9/2005 Sustiva/Truvada
Currently CD4 232 VL Undetectable

Offline jkinatl2

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2006, 12:07:10 AM »
Honestly? It seems that your numbers are slowly rising. Some of us take years and years to break 200 T Cells, and a percentage that rises commiserrate with that is really a fortunate event.

Had the numbers been reversed, over the span of a year, I submit that we would be talking med treatment changes. However, in the direction they are going, I for one think that you are heading in the right direction.

HIV treatment is different than treatment for cancer, though the chemotherapy analogy is not that far off. The changes might be incremental, and take an awfully long time (years, in some cases) to truly manifest themselves.

One thing you might want to consider is the rest of your life. How is your stress? Your physical activity? Your nutrition? It seems like the drugs are doing an ok job at managing an HIV infection. But the drugs are only part of the equation.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline HIVworker

  • Member
  • Posts: 918
  • HIV researcher
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2006, 12:15:20 AM »
Don't set yourself any targets and don't concentrate on what you read about other results. The response you have to treatment will be dictated by many factors such as your immune response to the virus. There are many factors that go into HIV and it can't be boiled down to just two numbers.

As JK has pointed out, the numbers have improved from 35. However, know that your response to medication will differ from everyone else's and setting yourself targets of 230 T-cells is meaningless. The main thing to concentrate on is that the numbers aren't going down.

In a study I read in the UK, 16% of patients taking HAART didn't show significant rises in their CD4 cells in the first year. However, in subsequent years, 50% of these patients demonstrated significant CD4 cell numbers.

Quote
Tung MY et al. Discordant responses to HAART in ARV-na´ve HIV infected individuals. Eleventh Annual Conference of the British HIV Association with the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, Dublin, abstract 021, 2005.

So relax a little and know that longer life is correlated to low viral loads and that part you are doing as well as can possibly be. The CD4 cells will most likely start to rise, but just take each result as it comes and don't set yourself a target. Rejoice in the fact you are undetectable and the CD4 count has risen from 34 to 200 and is holding steady.

R
NB. Any advice about HIV is given in addition to your own medical advice and not intended to replace it. You should never make clinical decisions based on what anyone says on the internet but rather check with your ID doctor first. Discussions from the internet are just that - Discussions. They may give you food for thought, but they should not direct you to do anything but fuel discussion.

Offline cubbybear

  • Member
  • Posts: 510
  • Joined August 2005.
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2006, 12:27:10 AM »
Thanks Jonathan and R,

I know I'm putting a lot of expectations on myself, I can't help that, it's something I have always done, pre-HIV days.  I don't like thinking that I am not doing powering along, but I guess in a way I am.  And I know my numbers could be a lot worse.  Slow and steady wins the race I guess, I was just hoping for more of a change.

Jonathan, the rest of my life is like my CD4 count.. it goes up and down, but generally stays the same.  Stress varies from very little to lots though that's panning out more now, and diet and exercise are on the improve, and generally I am happy.  I've never smoked in my life, I don't drink much at all except a glass of wine or two on the rare ocasion, and I don't do non-prescription drugs.

I think I'll definitely chill about the numbers, and not put so much pressure on myself about them.
Thanks again.
Matt
There's a bear in there!
Positive since 2000
Diagnosed 17/9/2005 CD4 35 VL 293,000
Meds 23/9/2005 Sustiva/Truvada
Currently CD4 232 VL Undetectable

Offline kcmetroman

  • Member
  • Posts: 567
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2006, 12:28:44 AM »
Hey Matt,

Don't fret my friend.  You are undetectable.  That's what matters.  My doc told me that some people never get over 200, but live a quality life.  I too, am slowly learning that numbers are just that.  When you start out as low as we did, it takes time.

Hope all is good in your life.  I know you've had a go recently.

J

Offline HIVworker

  • Member
  • Posts: 918
  • HIV researcher
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2006, 12:32:09 AM »
 cubby, you have the strangest avatar...
NB. Any advice about HIV is given in addition to your own medical advice and not intended to replace it. You should never make clinical decisions based on what anyone says on the internet but rather check with your ID doctor first. Discussions from the internet are just that - Discussions. They may give you food for thought, but they should not direct you to do anything but fuel discussion.

Offline allopathicholistic

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,258
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2006, 12:41:08 AM »
Slow and steady wins the race I guess, I was just hoping for more of a change.

Yes it does win the race

Wishing you the best dear one..Lots of love & sunshine too

Alex

Offline bobik

  • Member
  • Posts: 315
    • My worksite
Re: What's happening with my numbers?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2006, 11:31:21 AM »
Hey Matt.

You might be over 200 part of the day, cd4 counts go up and down with daily activities. So even the 235 you're dreaming of is sort of unimportant. Your percentage is going up. You come from so low that it takes your immunesystem years to recover. It took me 5 years to reach 400, another 5 years to reach 600. All those years I felt fine, had the energy to work and do the things I love to do. You're doing fine.

And as a reaction on HIVworker's remark.....I miss your face, handsome!

Coen
Coen Honig at Facebook

 


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