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Author Topic: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?  (Read 1560 times)

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Offline Sera

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5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« on: October 17, 2012, 10:54:58 AM »
I have been taking Atripla since 8th sep, and did a blood test on monday. The results for the cd4 came back this morning and i wasn't expecting much improvement in the numbers, but i am dissapointed because i wasn't expecting it to go down either. The cd4 went from 198 before i started to 174, the cd% is the same at 31, and the viral load is not back yet - my viral load has been below 1000 since diagnoses.

Granted the numbers takes time to go up, but going down, whats up with that? I haven't missed a dose and have been taking it at around the same time every day. Any thoughts?


Online Miss Philicia

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 11:16:41 AM »
cd4 counts can fluctuate like that very easily from test to test. You shouldn't look at a drop of 25 to be any effective change. Your numbers should be read as the same and thus stable. Another indicator, and a better one, is that your % is the same. Bottom line is that you should lose absolutely no sleep over this result.
"Ive slept with enough men to know that Im not gay"

Offline Sera

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 12:33:54 PM »
Thanks Miss P. That % has been over 31 since diagnoses, and i don't want to seem impatient but i am tempted to question my decison for starting meds. I have not had major side effects, but i have noticed constant forgetfulness, and the occasional dizziness is worrisome for me because of the nature of my job and the fact that i am going to school. I will continue taking them though and see what happens next.

Offline Ann

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 06:50:32 AM »
Hi Sera. I went back and looked over your previous posts and numbers history - and it seems to me that you might be one of those people who has naturally low CD4 counts. Keep in mind that the low end of the "normal" range is only 500. What's telling is your CD4% - it's always been fantastic and well within the normal range. This is what leads me to believe that you just naturally have low CD4s.

I mean, back in 2010 you were going to take part in an elite controllers study. Elite controllers don't usually take meds when they have such good numbers overall - like a very low VL and an excellent CD4%. I have to wonder why your doctor pushed you so much to take meds when you had such a low VL, a great CD4%, and were feeling well. Here in the UK, I doubt very much that many doctors would have pushed for treatment for you.

One word of caution - it sounds like you're playing with the idea of stopping your meds. If you do, make sure you speak to your doctor first. He may want you to take Truvada on its own for a few days in order to stop you from developing resistance to the Sustiva portion of your Atripla.
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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 Sera

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 12:27:10 PM »
Hi Ann, i was very reluctant to start medication for a very long time because of the same reason you referred to of low viral load and a normal %. When i was diagnosed in 2004, my cd4 was 501 and viral load was less than 50, the doctor had to do a second test in two weeks to try and figure out why the the low viral load with no meds. The second viral load test came back at 102. Anyway, i suspect i was infected in 1999 and i don't know what my numbers were between then and 2004 but my first doctor wanted me to start meds in 2005 when my cd4 was 400, with the same high % and less viral load and so i changed Doctors. In 2008, my cd4s started going down and up between 300 and 400, same % or higher and Less viral load and my current Doctor thought it was time to start medication but  again i resisted because i wasn't ready.

I did take part in the controllers study conducted by Dr Bruce Walker at Mass General Hospital for more than a year and Dr Walker thought i was a viremic controller and his opinion on my starting meds was the exact same thing you expressed. I wasn't able to continue with the study because of personal reasons. Since then, my cd4s have not improved above 400 and for the last 3 tests they  have dipped below 200, with the same % and infact at one time my viral load was below 500. My dr and nurse practitioner were of the opinion i was playing russian roullete with my health so that pressure plus i started to think i should listen to them because they are the professionals helped me decide to start. Also i am anemic and the dr thought it was hiv related and it would get better after i started meds, we'll wait and see on that. The last few years have been very stressful for me because my teenage son was abusing marijuana and i think that stress has contributed to my cd4 drop.

Ann, i am not going to stop taking the meds, i will give Atripla time and see what happens. I will post the viral load numbers when i get them, probably in a week.


Offline Sera

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, but i am now undetectable.
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 10:33:14 PM »
My viral load came back today and i am happy to report i am now undetectable. It's really baffling to me how this virus works but i am breathing easier. Now i can continue taking the medication and see whether the cd4s will go up.

Offline Ann

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2012, 09:31:01 AM »
Good luck! :) Keep us posted.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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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 Fisher

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Re: 5 weeks after starting meds, cd4 are down, what gives?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 02:24:40 PM »
Started Altripa about a month ago.  VL rapid decline. CD4+ remaing the same.  Your two CD4+ counts look pretty much identical.

When my doc gave me the terrific news about the VL, he said that the CD4+ not changing initially is par for the course and well be going up, following behind supression.

Should be fine.

-fisher
- fisher
04/14 CD 486 %23 VL <20
11/13 CD 351 %21  VL <20
10/13 CD 390 %16  VL <20
06/13 CD 315 %19  VL  22
02/13 CD 396 %14  VL <20
12/12 CD 392 %13  VL 320
11/12 CD 428 %13  VL 1200
*Started Meds: Atripla
10/12 CD 427 %11  VL 139000 -- 09/12 CD 408 %13 VL 92928
09/11 CD 745 %27 VL CLOT -- 10/10 CD 863 %29 VL 2782
10/09 CD 597 %30 VL 2537 -- 05/08 CD 809 %28 VL 1504
04/07 CD 797 %25 VL 3558 -- 11/06 CD 720 %28 VL 1214
06/05 CD 731 %25 VL 1575 -- 12/04 CD 1176 %30 VL 1329
01/04 CD 959 %26 VL 1011 -- 11/03 CD 1000 %28 VL 1581
12/02 CD 748 %28 -- 10/01 CD 860 %25
08/00 CD 1022 %28 -- 04/99 CD 854 %27
11/98 CD 899 %28 -- 02/97 CD 1400 %37
11/96 CD 1325  VL <500 -- 09/96 Western Blot
05/83 04/98 - Monogamous Partner Being Negative
ARS - Los Angeles Dec '82

 


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