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Should I worry about my CD4 count result?


Hello Dr

What would be the cause of this significant drop? On this day,
8/7/2010 my CD4 count was 460, with a viral load of less than 40, and CD4% 19. Then after I took my last shot of Hepatitis B vaccination on 27/7/2010 and continued my exercise as usual. I went for another lab test which came out with surprising result, CD4 333, VL less than 40 CD4% 18. Though I knew that CD4 due fluctuate but this is a huge drop. Should I worry for this result.?

What do CD4 count and CD4% results mean?


Hello there,

My nephew started treatment with Stocrin (Efavirenz) and Combivir with a T CD4% of 10.3 % and ABS CD4 170 cells/UL. and a viral load of 714049. After six weeks of treatment his CD4% is 15.6% and ABS CD4 134 cell/UL., viral load 267.

His doctor said the treatment is working for him. I would nevertheless appreciate your comments and opinion. Why is the ABS CD4 170 when the CD4% is 10.3 but comes down to 134 despite the increase in CD4% to 15.6?

I look forward to your reply.

Thank you so much.

When should I test again?


For two months I had unprotected sex with an HIV positive partner. Six weeks and eight weeks later I had two HIV tests and both came back negative. The last one was a BioLine HIV 1/2 3, 4th Generation and I do no remember what the first one was. Should I go on testing and when?

I have started PEP and want to know if I will be okay?

I had sex with a transexual man. I was on top and without me realizing the condom had ruptured, I washed myself and went home. But I did not feel comfortable. So I sent a text asking the man I had just had sex with if he was HIV positive, to which he answered, yes. I freaked out and went inmediately to the internet and did some research. I read about PEP, so the next morning I went to the clinic and I was placed on – Truvada 200 mg, Norvir 100 mg and Reyataz 300 mg. This was 36 hours after the incident.

I have had no side effects. But for the last two days, I have felt as if I have some fever. I tested my temperature and it is within the normal parameters of 98.2 and 98.7. Please tell me do I have a shot to be well? The person I had sex with told me that his viral count is below 40. Please help.

Does my partner need to use a condom if I am on efavirenz and want to become pregnant?

I am HIV-positive and on Truvada and efavienz. Two months ago my CD4 was 550 but when I started it was in June 2008 it was much lower. My boyfriend is HIV-neg but he has high blood pressure.

Is it ok if i plan to have a baby? We have sex without a condom because he says he is circumusised. We did both tests and he is still negative.

Plz help me.

Are these changes in my CD4 and viral load normal?

I’m a 30 year old HIV-positive male. I found out that I was positive in April of this year. I am not on medication. I recently received my third set of blood results. In May my CD4 count was 360 with a viral load of just over 5000. In August my CD4 count had risen to 380 with the same viral load as before. My recent test results show my CD4 count was 480 with a viral load of 3300 (CD4 % of 26%).

I understand that both counts can fluctuate but I wasn’t expecting my CD4 to rise as much or my viral load to decrease. Are these results normal? Should I be pleased with those results?

What are the risks from changing my atazanavir dose?

In Oct 2008, I have started the HIV treatment and the med combination is as follows:
1. Kivexa 600mg/300mg (abacavir + lamivudine) Dose: 1 tab in the evening
2. Reyataz 150mg (atazanavir) Dose: 2 tabs in the evening
3. Norvir 100mg (ritonavir) * Dose: 1 tab in the evening (* has to be put in refrigerator)

But now because of personal reasons and I am going to change the combination as follows:
1. Kivexa 600mg/300mg (abacavir + lamivudine) Dose: 1 tab in the evening
2. Reyataz 200mg (atazanavir) Dose: 2 tabs in the evening

Q. Is there any side effect or ineffectiveness of medication due to the two cases (I am going to change after two days break). My CD4 is now 515.

Can partying explain my viral load increase?


I have been on medications for about 2 years. I am on atazanavir, ritonavir and truvada. I have been undetectable for about 1.8 years and my CD4 is 900, but a blood test taken last week returned a viral load 3,560.

I have been called by my clinic this morning to come in for a new blood test which i did this afternoon. I had the impression that the nurse were worried and I am terrified now. I will have to wait another week to see if I ll be fine. They said that such a result can’t be a blip.

How can a result of viral load 3,560 return to undetectable within 7 days?

Do you think that because I have been partying and took some recreational drugs few days before my blood test, it could have affected my viral load?

I have been worried about HIV infection for 26 years – do I have HIV?

I am very impressed with the information and responses to questions on this site. In particular, the large amount of people seeking reassurance after having negative HIV test results.

I believe that I put my risk performing oral sex on a man in 1984. Some 26 years later, I am still requesting HIV tests as a result of this incident – I have had too many to count now and the results have always been negative. In other area’s of my life I am a rational human being, but from time to time, I begin to obsess over the fact that I have 2 enlarged (submandibular salivary ?) glands under my jaw and connect this to the incident in 1984. I actually noticed them in 1986 so they have been like this for at least 24 years. This is made worse as I have noticed similar enlargement on people I know to be HIV positive over the years.

During my more rational moments (!), I accept that the chances of my having HIV are at the very least, unlikely. Unfortunately, there are other times when I am convinced that I am about to make medical science and that the virus has somehow avoided the test process.

Perhaps it may be of some support to the people who read this and who are worried, that I have now spanned all 4 generations of HIV tests, and arrived at a point where I have personally extended the recommended window period by 25 years and 9 months ! Unfortunately, as I hit 50 years old, I am also aware that I have spent around half my life having concerns over this issue.

Sorry this is so lengthy, your comments at i-Base would be appreciated and please keep up the good work!

My CD4 count seems to be dropping. What can I do?

I tested positive in February 2010. My viral load was 10,000 and CD4 count was 231, two weeks later my viral load was 12,000 and CD4 count was 224. The readings were the same at the end of March.

I started on Atripla in April. Reading from the end of April was inconclusive as the blood sample wasn’t handled correctly. In July viral load was undetectable and CD4 count of 265. Results in November, from my most recent blood sample was that viral load was undetectable but CD4 count was 229, down below my very first reading.

Is there a reason my CD4 count would decrease? My doctor wasn’t overly concerned saying that it takes longer for the CD4 count to rise when starting from a low number but I am concerned. A slow rise in CD4 count would be one thing but a regression seems more serious to me.

I don’t drink alcohol, smoke or take drugs, have a good balanced diet and take regular exercise. I feel well and haven’t been sick since starting the treatment. Might my CD4 count stay permanently low or could it continue to decrease, even if my viral load stays undetectable? Is there anything I should try to do to try to boost my CD4 count? What might be the implications of a permanently low CD4 count even if my viral load remains undetectable? Apologies for the long-winded question and many thanks for your help.

I'm 19 and think I have HIV?

I haven’t been tested for HIV but I’ve always had unprotected sex and most men cum inside me. I’m 19 now and I’ve been barebacking since I was 18 and there’s no doubt in my mind that I have the virus. I don’t know what to do. Should I just let it progress and let the virus kill me? I could never afford the medication. Is there counciling for guys as young as me I could talk to?

Can students in the UK get free healthcare?

Great website. Very thankful for your answers & the wealth of information. I have a few questions:

1. Can foreign nationals studying in the UK access free HIV support all the way from pre-natal care to delivery?

2. Why are foreign trained doctors denied the opportunity to join the medical fraternity either at post-graduate level especially in dentistry on completion of the Registration examination? Yet they know how to protect themselves? Are we assuming that the UK doctors get regularly tested for infectious diseases? I think this is unfair.

I appreciate you taking time to clarify the above.

Is loosing weight from legs and buttocks a side effect?

I have been on meds for 18 months and have lost 16 kg, which is not really noticeable cause I am a big gal. However, I am a bit worried cause it looks like my legs are thinner as well as my buttocks. I have complained about this to my doctor and have now been referred to another physician as I am worried that this might be the side effects.

My viral load is 29 and CD4 count is 1079. My main worry is what if they change me and I don’t do well? Do you think it is the weight as I don’t remember when last I weighed less than 100kg.

After 18months can I really develop new symptons beside the discolouring of my nails?

Please explain my resistance test results in non-technical language…

I’ve just had the results today of my drug resistance tests and have been told that I am unable to have any NNRTIs or abacavir, Trizivir and Atripla. This is the first resistance test I’ve ever had and I’ve been HIV-positive for 10 years now.

I did not see my usual doctor today and the doctor I saw didn’t really explain the consequences of this result. Are you able to give me a non clinical explanation of what this means to me please.

Many thanks.


Could I have given my partner HIV through using lube or fingering him?


I have a very unusual question. I am HIV positive and on meds. My viral load is under 200 at the moment. I had sex with my friend and used my fingers to lube myself before receiving and during the act. I stupidly used the the same finger (with lube) to finger him (although there was a gap of few minutes).

I am now dead scared if I may have infected him by inserting the same finger in him.

I understand that HIV can’t survive outside the body for long but still unsure in this case due to the lube on my fingers.


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