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Blood Work Back After 28 Days on Meds

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On February 12, 2013, after being diagnosed in January, I was put on Atripla for the first time.  My viral load was 144,652 and my CD4 count was 136.  They said that I probably contracted the HIV virus somewhere around 8-10 years ago  On March 12, 2013, twenty-eight days later, I had another blood panel done.  Results stated that my viral load was reduced to 1,232 (down from 145K) and my CD4 count increased to 259 (up from 136).  I was astounded.  So were they.  Especially since the doctors were telling me not to expect any significant increase in my CD4 count for at least a year.  They also placed me on dapsone on 2/12.

Is this normal?  Will if drop back down?  I'm confused.


--- Quote from: Newlydx on March 16, 2013, 06:13:37 PM ---Is this normal?  Will if drop back down?

--- End quote ---
Modern ARVs have totally changed the face of the HIV epidemic. While some people don't have the good results you do, many others do have the same kind of good results. The rate of how ARVs improve your health/numbers is a very uniquely personal thing.

While you might see your numbers wobble around a little bit by the end of the first year, you should be having pretty steady numbers - as long as you remain properly adherent to your regime.

congrats on the great numbers and best wishes!

Hi Newly, welcome to the forums.

It could also be that you are actually dealing with a very new infection.

It is not uncommon in the first few months of infection for the viral load to be very high and the CD4 count to be very low.

When this has been the case (a very new infection) the VL will typically reduce very quickly and the CD4 rise very quickly as well once meds are started. (Like yours have.)

When a person has numbers like your initial numbers that are due to a long-standing, undiagnosed infection, it can indeed take quite some time for the numbers to improve, as your doctors warned you.

One thing you may not know - while very early on in infection the VL may be very high and the CD4 very low, these numbers will improve and level out all by themselves (in other words, without meds) within the first six months to a year following initial infection. Some people can have good numbers and not actually need meds for several years (anywhere between around two to as many as twenty) once this stabilisation has occurred.

Your fantastic improvement in numbers after only four weeks of meds really rather does point to a new infection. Of course, you also may be just a very, very lucky person who has indeed been positive for a number of years but yet experienced a super-duper-califragilisitic-amazingly fantastic response. However, my money is on it being a new infection.

Either way, you can expect a continued improvement of both numbers. At the rate your VL is going down, you can very likely expect to be undetectable by three months at least, if not sooner.

Good luck and hang in there. You're going to be ok, even if these early days feel like you're on a rollercoaster ride that won't stop and let you off. It does get better in time and the rollercoaster will eventually slow down and let you get off to go get in line for another exciting ride. Just try to make it a fun, life-improving type of ride next time! ;)


Ann -

Thank you for your reply.  That's probably exactly what happened - though I didn't know it.  Seems to make total sense.  In either case, it is good news.

Thanks again.

After checking in with doctors and putting this to them, they said, "no, i did not have any infections and that my response, not that rare, was extremely favorable to the drug."  We'll see what happens and how the numbers change on next blood panel - due in April.


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