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A Question - 6 weeks in...


Very thankful I found this forum.  I'm already encouraged, just by reading some of the posts.  Like everyone, I've been freaking out for 6 weeks.  I'm still functioning at work, but just obsessing constantly about it - It's in my thoughts 24/7 it seems.

My question - What is the percentage that I see people giving after their labs?  They gave me my Tcell count and VL numbers, but I don't know what the percentage thing means?  The doctor said my levels were good and he doesn't want to start anything at this  point, but to test again in January.  Just curious as to what that % thing means?

And does anyone else really struggle with going to the "worst case scenario" from 1987 in their mind?  My brain knows that things are different now and I keep hearing good news about options and longterm health, but why can't I seem to believe it?  Does that get better in time?  I've never felt so scared and alone in my life. 

Thanks for any encouragement!

From what I've gathered it is the percent of total blood count that your cd4 makes up. The lower the level the higher the likeliness that CD4 levels will drop.

Hello Bigplans,

Here is a link from the site, that states it a lot easier then I can !!

Click below :

"What is the T4 Percentage?

If you look at your lab report, you will also see something called your CD4+ percentage (%). This is an important number for you and your doctor to know. In healthy adults, the number of T4 cells make up between 32% and 68% of the total number of lymphocytes a large group of white blood cells that include T4 cells, T8 cells (see below), and B-cells. In fact, the lab uses the T4 percentage to determine the number of T4 cells in a sample of blood.

The T4 percentage is sometimes a more reliable measurement than the T4 count because it tends to vary less between measurements. For example, one person's T4 count may vary between 200 and 300 over a several month period while their T4 percentage remains constant at, say, 21%. Provided that the T4 percentage stays at 21% or higher, the immune system still appears to be functioning properly, regardless of what the T4 count is. At the same time, a T4 percentage at or below 13% regardless of what the actual T4 count is usually means that the immune system is damaged and that it is time to begin prophylactic treatment (drugs to prevent diseases) for opportunistic infections like PCP.

What is a T8 Cell Count, and the T-cell Ratio?

T8 cells, also called CD8+ or Suppressor cells, play a major role in fighting infections such as HIV. A healthy adult usually has between 150 and 1,000 T8 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Unlike T4 cells, people living with HIV tend to have higher-than-average T8 cell counts. Unfortunately, nobody fully understands the reasons for this. Therefore, this test result is rarely used in making treatment decisions.

Lab reports may also list the T-cell (CD4+/CD8+) ratio, which is the number of T4 cells divided by the number of T8 cells. Since the T4 count is usually lower than normal in people living with HIV, and the T8 count is usually higher, the ratio is usually low. A normal ratio is usually between 0.9 and 6.0. Like the T8 cell count, nobody really knows what this low number means. However, most experts agree that once anti-HIV therapy is started, an increase in the T-cell ratio (i.e. a rising T4 count and a falling T8 count) is a telltale sign that drug treatment is working.

Take care-----Ray

Hey Bigplans,

It is good to hear that you are encouraged. in fact, that is what it is all about. We all need encouragement in our lives. It soothes the very essence of our soul within. As far as the CD4 percentage goes go to this link:, you will come to find out that this site has a lot of information as well. Just as Ray has suggested.

I beleive I welcomed you in the other forum however!

I wish to extend to you a warm WELCOME here at the forums. Here you will find the encouragement, communication, understanding, support, some cries, some laughter, and many of your questions relating to HIV/AIDS answered.

We have a great group of Real People who will listen as well as answer you. We are here to encourage one another and to learn from each other. Implementing a Positive Mental Attitude will also assit you on your journey in this life.

Talking to other people helps us see that we are not the only ones with problems. Feel free to come and vent with whatever is on your mind from time-to-time as it is highly therapeutic.

In the interim, you may want to start taking a multi-vitamin, Omega 3 and eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy and avoid processed foods, saturated and trans fats. This will also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise at least three times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Make the BEST of each and every Day!


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