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Author Topic: CD4 Percentage Newb Question  (Read 2520 times)

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Offline Betelgeuse

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  • Posts: 163
CD4 Percentage Newb Question
« on: June 08, 2011, 03:01:22 AM »
I wasn't sure in which forum this question should have been posted.  Moderators, please feel free to move this topic as you see fit.

I'm struggling with the CD4 percentage concept.  It's not a number that my doctor mentioned, but it see its importance reading users' posts here.  Up until now, I have been exclusively concerned with my CD4 number and my viral load.

I have checked out the "Lessons" section of this website:

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/TCellTest_4727.shtml

and didn't get a good understanding of its meaning or its importance. 

In looking at my initial lab report, I see the following key data:
CD4:  188
CD4 Pos. Lymph %:  12.5
HIV-1 RNA by PCR:  18,230 copies/ml

Where the reference range for the above are respectively
359-1519
30.8 - 58.5%
20-10,000,000

Because I have never tested my baseline CD4 numbers, therefore not knowing what my CD4 numbers would have been had I been negative, is it more important to concentrate on the CD4 percentage?

In trying to do some self-education, I'm probably confusing myself horribly.  It only comes from my desire to do everything the right way and not screw things up.

Thanks everyone for being so patient with my newbish questions.
04/19/11 - Diagnosed positive
04/29/11 - CD4 188 @ 12.5% / VL 18k
05/03/11 - CD4 171 @ unk% / VL 7k
06/04/11 - Start Truvada/Isentress
07/11/11 - CD4 not tested / VL UD
09/07/11 - CD4 252 @ unk% / VL UD

Offline Ann

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  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: CD4 Percentage Newb Question
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 07:48:53 AM »
Bete, as this is such a basic noob question, the Just Tested forum probably is the most appropriate place for it. Alternatively, it would have been at home in the Treatments forum too, but here is fine.

Until your numbers are over 200, if it were me, I'd probably pay equal attention to both the absolute number as well as the percent. Heck, I pretty much pay equal attention to both of them now and always have ever since I found out about the percentage.

While your absolute CD4 number can fluctuate by as much as or even more than 100 points in a single day, the percentage tends to be a more stable number. My numbers have jumped around quite a bit over the years, but my percentage has pretty much remained around 27-29%. I don't worry too much about the odd low absolute result provided my percent has stayed in its usual range.

You've started with somewhat low numbers, so your absolute and your percent should both continue to rise in the coming months, now that you're on meds.

Don't worry so much about doing things "the right way". Your numbers are going to be what they are no matter how much you do or don't worry about them. The important thing is that your numbers indicated the need for treatment and you have started that treatment.

Keep taking your meds every day. That is the most important "right" thing you can be doing. The numbers will take care of themselves. If you're like most people, you will likely experience a nice rise after taking meds for a few months.

You're going to be ok, really you are. Try to stop worrying so much - stress isn't good for anyone, poz or neg. Don't be in too much of a hurry to learn everything. It's an awful lot to take in, in addition to all the emotional aspects you're dealing with as well.

Again, the important thing now is that you're on meds, so keep taking them every day and let them do their work. If you haven't already, you may want to invest in a weekly pill box, so you can keep track of whether or not you've had your doses. This can be particularly important when on a twice-daily combo. I know it is for me anyway - I'm terrible at remembering a second dose of anything.

Hang in there - and try to relax! :)


edited cuz ah cun't speels ;D
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 07:53:19 AM by Ann »
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"...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 Betelgeuse

  • Member
  • Posts: 163
Re: CD4 Percentage Newb Question
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 03:41:39 PM »
Thanks, Ann :) 

The day I got my meds, I went to my local Target to get an AM/PM Weekly pill box at the suggestion of another user from this forum.  Also a hint I just read on another post (sorry I can't give you credit, but I'll edit if I find the post), to keep the lid open after you've used it - that way you know easily by glancing at your box what you've done.

The meds are the easy part.  I spend more time inserting my contacts in the morning and taking them out before bed.  It's the thought behind it that takes some getting used to.

Thanks for your thoughtful response.

Jimmy
04/19/11 - Diagnosed positive
04/29/11 - CD4 188 @ 12.5% / VL 18k
05/03/11 - CD4 171 @ unk% / VL 7k
06/04/11 - Start Truvada/Isentress
07/11/11 - CD4 not tested / VL UD
09/07/11 - CD4 252 @ unk% / VL UD

Offline Ann

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  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: CD4 Percentage Newb Question
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2011, 09:42:33 AM »
You're welcome, Jimmy.

Yep, the thought behind taking meds is something to get used to, particularly when you had to start meds so soon after being diagnosed. One day you'll look back on these early days and wonder why you were so worried. Believe it or not, it really does become routine. It just takes time.

It's good to know you've got a pill box. Mine has been a life-saver - half the time I can't remember why I got up and went into the kitchen, never mind whether or not I've taken my (non-hiv) meds.
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

 


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