Q and A

Question

I’m on treatment, but my CD4 count has dropped.

I have been on HAART for 4 years now. However, I’m really concerned of my CD4 count. It has been fluctuating at a level that is not normal. It was 309 last year, and then it went down to 272 recently (after reviewing my results with the doctor). I declared to the doctor that I have sometimes delayed my medication intake. She said that it could be a major contributing factor to why my CD4 decreased. Even so, I’ve not experienced my CD4 count to a normal level (of more than 500 counts) even after 4 years of taking meds.
May I ask why? I can’t find any research to this issue. Also, should I be worried? Really need someone to respond to this. Thank you.

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

CD4 counts can and do fluctuate. CD4 counts can be affected due to a number of reasons -i.e. stress, time of the day, menstrual cycle, other infections, recent vaccination, lab errors etc. A drop from 309 to 279 isn’t a significant drop.

Not taking your exactly on time won’t be the reason why there’s been a slight drop.

With regards to your CD4 count never going about 350, this could be related to what it was when you were diagnosed, or you could simply just have a low CD4 count.

As long as your viral load is undetectable, your HIV is under control.

3 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Ameswa,

    Please read the answer to your earlier comment here. And please discuss with your doctor if the time is right to start your son on soft food.

    Mix feeding that is not recommended is feeding both breastmilk and formula. There is no risk if you start weaning him onto soft food when you’re bottle feeding with formula.

  2. Ameswa

    Helo. I just want to know if is it still possible for me to breastfeed my baby when he is 6 months old. I never breastfeeded him at birth because I ddnt know that I was undetectable and the milk couldn’t come out . I really want to breastfeed him. Can u start when he is six months so that I can give him even solid foods to avoid the crying. I dnt want to start now because he started with bottle so he might not get enough milk in my breast I just want to start Atleast when I can mix feed.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Ameswa,

    As Lisa says on this Q&A, guidelines around breastfeeding vary from country to country. But here in the UK breastfeeding isn’t recommended and this is even if a woman’s viral load is undetectable.

    That’s because there is a small risk to your baby even if your viral load is undetectable. Please talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby.

    What are your reasons for wanting to switch to breastfeeding now? Please discuss this with your doctor.

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