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How can drugs fail when I feel fine?

“Viral failure” relates to results from a blood test but not to how well you feel.

But, if you stay on a failing treatment, your CD4 count will start to drop.

This might not be for several months but it will happen.

A lower CD4 count increases the risk of new or progressing illness. This is called “clinical failure”. See Figure 3.

Figure 3. From rebound to symptoms

Fig 3 time from viral to clinical failure

  1. Viral load rebounds. If you stay on the same meds, viral load will continue to rise. 
  2. Your CD4 count will go down over time.
  3. As your CD4 count drops the risk of symptoms increases.

Last updated: 1 January 2018.