Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Count Down to Count

CountI just heard back from the doctor of the HIV ward of the San Lazaro Hospital, and she's confirmed my appointment on Thursday for my CD4 count.

I'm getting a bit of nerves again, both about the ward's Thursday crowd, and the test as well.

So to at least equip myself for the latter, I've been doing some research.

What are CD4 Cells?
CD4 cells, also known as T-cells, are a type of lymphocyte or white blood cell. An important part of the immune system, CD4 cells come in two main types. T-4 cells, or CD4+, are "helper" cells which lead attacks against infections. T-8 cells (CD8+) are "suppressor" cells that end the immune response. CD8 cells can also be "killer" cells that kill cancer cells and cells infected with a virus.

Why are CD4 Cells Important in HIV?
The cells that HIV infects most often are CD4 cells. The virus becomes part of the cells, which when multiply to fight infections, also make more copies of the HIV. The number of CD4 cells (their CD4 cell count) goes down when infected with HIV. The lower the CD4 cell count, the more likely the person will get sick.

What Factors Influence a CD4 Cell Count?
The CD4 cell count varies a lot. Time of day, fatigue, and stress can affect test results. It's best to have blood drawn at the same time of day for each CD4 cell test, and to use the same laboratory.

Infections and vaccinations can cause CD4 and CD8 counts to go up. It is advised to have CD4 cell counts at least a couple of weeks after recovering from an infection, or getting a vaccination.

How Are the Test Results Reported?
Reported as the number of cells in a cubic millimeter of blood, normal CD4 counts are between 500 and 1600. CD4 counts can drop to as low as zero in people with HIV.

What Do the Numbers Mean?
The CD4 cell count measures the health of the immune system. The lower the count, the greater damage HIV has done. Anyone who has less than 200 CD4 cells is considered to have AIDS according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

CD4 counts are also used to indicate when to start certain types of drug therapy such as antiretroviral therapy, aggressive retroviral therapy, and drug prescriptions to prevent opportunistic infections.

The complete article can be found at http://www.thebody.com/content/art6110.html.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

thonnibg said...

You get all the luck from wished!

Fingers crossed!And knock on wood!

Many hugs