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My latest numbers

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I got a call from the research center and next week we go over what is the next step. So let me know what any of you think of my latest numbers:

Dec 06- CD4-744   VL:8744

Jan 30,07 CD4- 495 VL: 3085

Feb 7, 07, 415 VL: 7045

any comments or suggestions?

Hi Kat,

Your numbers are great - especially that low viral load. Do you know what your CD4% is? That's an important number too. If you don't know what the CD4% means, check out this lesson:


Good numbers.


Boo Radley:

I am one of those in the "conservative" camp who believes HAART should be delayed as long as your immune system is still healthy (and there are no other HIV/AIDS issues).   Current CDC treatment guidelines recommend that one start HAART by the time the CD4 count drops below 350 (but above 200) and continues to stay at a low level.  The old guidelines used a CD4 count of 500 or below but the newer guidelines were adopted based on the assumption your immune system is still intact and working at the 350 - 500 level.  A viral load as low as yours is practically insignificant.  If your vl goes above 100,000 the CDC recommends starting HAART depending on the CD4 count.

Why is deciding to start HAART so important?  Because once you begin it is a commitment for the rest of your life (or until a cure is found, but don't hold your breath).  HAART is another name for chemotherapy so starting meds means you will be taking toxic substances which can have unpleasant short-term and long-term side effects, and some effects are worse than others.  Since AIDS has been around about 25 years and drug treatments about 20, no one knows how long people can take current meds without suffering from dangerous side effects or without having drug resistance develop. 

In my case I refused to start HAART until October, 2004, when my CD4 dropped to 169.  I had not meant to let it get that low but I put off getting lab work for 5 months.  I have never had an opportunistic infection or any other symptom (besides constant fatigue but that started 17 years ago) of AIDS and since beginning meds my CD4 has gone up and my viral load has remained undetectable.  My reasoning is that I can be somewhat certain I'll be able to take meds at least for the next 20 years but if I'd started sooner I might be able to go only 10 years.  At 51 if I live 20 more years I'll probably be ready to kick the bucket by then, anyway...

The other side of the argument is you should start HAART before it damages your immune system too much but the problem is no one is completely sure when that is.  Obviously when one starts getting OIs the immune system needs help.    If you stay healthy and free of OIs with a CD4 count in the 350 - 500 range it seems, on the face of it, wise to wait to start HAART.  However, if "we" are wrong and undetected damage is done to the immune system after the CD4 drops below 500 then starting at 350 may mean a less desirable outcome. 

That explanation cleared everything up, didn't it??  Maybe I should get a job writing instruction manuals for electronic equipment.

Anyway, good luck!



--- Quote from: Boo Radley on February 13, 2007, 01:53:59 PM ---Kat,

HAART is another name for chemotherapy so starting meds means you will be taking toxic substances which can have unpleasant short-term and long-term
--- End quote ---
I don't think you can compare HAART with chemotherapy. It's also not helping people who are recently infected and are reading through these threads to compare to something else. HAART is HAART, potent drugs that supress your VL. No one is arguing with the toxicity of the drugs but it is not wise to compare it to chemo.


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