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My body itches all over – is it because of Atripla?

I have been on Atripla for 3 years now. Everything has been good with high CD4 counts and undetectable but over last year I have become increasingly itchy over most of my body, my legs especially, my doctor doesn’t seem too bothered and gave me antihistamines but they have not worked and the itch is really too much to bear at times. Have you any advice? I am seriously considering stopping my medications it gets so bad!

If I have a low lymphocyte count do I have HIV?

Dear Ms Walker,

Apologies for persevering on this matter. I had a virus this September 2010 and was asked to do a CBC test. I also had 2 HIV ELFA tests – one in Feb 2009 (96 days after exposure, the exposure in Nov 2009) and one more test in Feb 2010. Both came back non-reactive. I have had no other exposures or risks after Nov 2009.

My CBC reports absolute WBC at 7400 and my lymphocyte count was at 19% (Normal range was 20%-44%). A low lymphocyte count is associated with HIV. Is there a cause for concern in my case? Are my tests conclusive and my status HIV negative?

Is a cure for HIV coming? Can yogurt affect CD4 counts?

Is there now real hope that there will be a cure for HIV? There seems to be some really good research going on I have just read a article where Dr Sékaly who is a well respected Dr in the field of HIV says there will be a cure in 10 years.

Also, I have read about 2 cancer drugs and there is another cancer drug called zolinza and of course the Israeli scientists that have cured HIV in small cultures and then I have read that HIV has been cured in a mouse model so may be soon HIV will be a thing of the past.

I have another question about my CD4 count, I had some bloods done about a month and a half ago my CD4 count was 321. Just after that I started to take a muller pre-biotic and combined pro-biotic yogurt. Then just over a week later I came down with Iritis. I thought my HIV treatment was failing as there was a little spike in my viral load from below 20 to 38. When I went back to the hospital to see the cholesterol specialist doctor I insisted on having my bloods taken again that was 2 weeks ago.

My CD4 count had risen from 321 to 454 in a month where for nearly a year it has always been around 300 or so I think that the reason I had the iritis was that it was IRIS and that the sudden leap in my CD4 count was due to the muller drinks. I have had iritis in the past when my CD4 count was very low at 93. Could this huge leap of more than 25% increase a month be due to the muller drinks? It seems to be the case.

I know that a persons CD4 count can fluctuate but surely not by that much? Also when I first found out in may last year that my CD4 count was 93 I was taking those muller drinks and within 2 months I had a CD4 count of 233 but for some reason I stopped taking the drinks. I guess that they were no longer on offer at Sainsburys.

Do ARVs act on other viruses such as herpes?

I lost muscle strength in my whole body and that prompted me to do a HIV test. The result was positive with CD4 count of 79. I was immediately put on ARVs on 27th August 2010.

Since then I have had herpes on my genitalia and it keeps recurring on my scrotum daily. Does this mean ARVs do not act on other viruses apart from HIV? Will the muscle loss be restored by ARVs alone and how long will it take? I dont want to stress about this one.

Do I have to produce HIV testing certificates to work abroad?

I’m slightly confused. I am planning to have a HIV test as a baseline in 1 weeks time. My exposure was not really from a person but from blood to blood contact. I am having a test done as a precaution which happens to be exactly 3 weeks after my exposure. I have been told to have the test done again after 4 weeks and then again after 6 weeks but I’m not sure why?

Looking on your website it says 3-4 weeks after is good and 28 days plus conclusive? why would my GUM clinic say this?

Also I am planning to work abroad and they need me to test – I know the first one is no good as it still in my window period but they want me to give them 2 certificates of the ones I am going to do after? Have they got the right to do that and why would they not class the last one done after 28 days as ok?


Does stress and lack of sleep effect your CD4 count?

Does stress and lack of sleep effect your CD4 count? I am HIV positive and am medicated. I work in a, recently, stressful job and have been going through a lot of stress in my personal life. My viral load is undetectable and yet my CD4 count doesn’t appear to be moving in any direction (which can be considered to be good) yet I would have thought it may have increased?

How risky is it to unblock my fallopian tubes and can I have a child if I have HIV?


I’m HIV positive and my problem is that my fallopian tubes are blocked. How risky is it to unblock them so I can become pregnant? Is it normal for me to be pregnant knowing my HIV status and how is it going to affect me? The doctor said I must do a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test for tubal infertility. How accurate is the test and will I be able to have a HIV negative child? Is the tubal infertility test very important?

What does it mean if my CD4 count increases but my CD4% doesn't?


First off thanks for all the information on the site it’s helpful and often really reassuring!

I was diagnosed last year with a CD4 of 98 and after being on Atripla for a year my recent labs were CD4 323 and 16%. While my CD4 has been steadily increasing (98 – 196 – 225 – 272 – 323) the percentage figure has remained at 16% (for the last two labs and 15% previously). I’ve read that this is often viewed as a more reliable indicator of immune health and I think I understand the concept (using the red and green apples in a basket example) but does it mean that in reality the improvements have not been so substantial? Or is the percentage remaining low because my CD8s are increasing?

I have never been told my CD8 counts should I ask for these on the next visit? At what level of CD4 could I realistically expect my percentage to begin improving? Thanks for your help

Should I get the flu jab this winter?


I searched through the archives because I’m convinced that someone must have asked the question I’m about to ask, but I couldn’t find an answer to my question. I apologise in advance if someone has!

As a HIV-positive person (with a CD4 count of 360, not yet on medication) should I get a flu-jab for the upcoming winter?

Many thanks (and many thanks for the fantastic website). It really has been incredibly helpful through my first year of diagnosis.

How can I make a complaint about my GP disclosing my status?


I have a question with regards to a stand-in at my GP surgery. I am currently on sick leave for depression and of course my status due to low CD4 count and high viral load.

I have to supply to the DWP sicknotes every few weeks. My normal GP normally puts on ‘infection and depression’, however I got another sick note and this was done by the stand in doctor on my sicknote he put down my status!! In large writing ‘HIV Diagnosis’. I would like to know if he had the right to put that on my sick note? The sick note is put with every other sick-note that has been issued to other patitents so each member of staff that works on reception, all 6 off them, may have seen this and the reception lady that gave it me could clearly see it.

If any other patitent was stood behind me they would have easily seen this. I have submitted a complaint to the surgery but am wondering if there is anything else I can do as this has really upset me? I have informed my HIV clinic not to send any further information to my GP.

I could not get the sick note redone as it needed to be handed in so I would be paid so now when the sick note has been passed from pillar to post at the DWP even more people will know. I had to take a photocopy of the sick note and this had to be done at a shop where the owner does it so I had to face that embrassment as well.

This really has upset me and me very angry, I would be greatful if you could offer some advice.

What is the situation for HIV positive people on medication who have previous alcohol-based liver damage?

Please tell me about the situation for HIV postive people who have prior alcohol based liver disease. How are they able to deal with the HIV medication? Say for example, somebody with mild liver damage, is diagnosed as HIV positive – how long will it take on medication before their liver becomes severely damaged?

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