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partner positive with low CD4 count

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shelleyp:
Hi,  I am new here.
I live in Africa and my African partner was found to be positive in January 2013 with a then CD4 count of 410. I am negative. The clinic here did not recommend starting ARV's at this point. This month (April) the CD4 count has plummeted to 170 which has shocked us both. He is very well and never gets ill but now I am seriously worried because of the low CD4 count. This week he will begin with ARV's but am worried that his CD4 count will not rise again and that he can quickly become susceptible to opportunistic infections. There is little counselling support here and even if there was I am sure he would not go and on his low days he goes on drinking binges ... I really need to know what he needs to do to help himself to stay well and get that CDC 4 count up again ... should we be worried that it dropped so fast? I really need some good advice and honest answers from those who have experience... many thanks in advance

mecch:
170 means he should start HAART.

Being on HAART is the only way his CD4s will go up again, IMO.  In all likelihood, they will go up into safe territory.  Don't worry about "what ifs" the drugs don't work. They work.  Really fast for some. Slower for others.  But the primary thing is getting him on them.  And if its available, getting him some antibiotics to take until his CD4 returns back to the safe zone. 

So yeah, if his CD4 stays low - BECAUSE he doesn't start HAART, he is open to opportunistic infections.

As for the drinking binges.  When he starts HAART, its important that he takes it everyday. Don't let the alcohol lead to poor adherence. 

So, IMO, first things first.  Drugs for the HIV.  Protection against opportunistic infections until his CD4 is safe, again. 

If its despair and worry that leads to the binging, the despair and worry might lift, when he sees the results of the HAART and believes again that its possible to build a long and healthy life.

shelleyp:
Many thanks ... really appreciate your advice. It has helped alot. There is very little good support for postitive people here and lack of information so support groups like this are invaluable. He will take the HAART - no problem and today he is going to a free but very good clinic here to get them. I am confident that he will take them methodically and now feel more assured that he can build up his CD4 count again. I agree once he can see the results then i am sure the drinking will subside as his despair and disbelief about living with HIV/AIDS lessens.
REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR HELP- THANKS SO MUCH

mecch:
So problem!  If its practicable, he could join here himself.

shelleyp:
Dear ALL,
re: African boyfriend with low CD4 count. (170)

He has started taking ARV's but our question is does he have to take these for the rest of his life or until the CD4 count has got to the safe zone?
His doctor said he doesnt need to go for another CD4 count for one year.. but this seems strange - surely after a few months of taking ARV's it is good to check that his CD4 count is rising... (health care system appalling here so just wanted to check the info we are receiving)
There is no viral load test here - does this matter?

Any info would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks

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