Saturday, October 8, 2011

My latest HIV Labs 19 months post HIV/HCV diagnosis

I wanted to share with you my latest HIV labs in hopes of familiarizing those newly infected with HIV to the kind of tests that may be performed at your check up every 3-6 months. I'll also explain some tests, and point you in the direction of resources to help you interpret your results. Please comment, I love comments!!


I was diagnosed with HIV March 3rd, 2010 (19 months ago) and a month later was told I also contracted Hepatitis C through sexual intercourse, not IV drug use. These labs are 18 months into ART (Anti Retroviral Treatment) for my HIV which consists of the medications Truvada and Isentress. I was also treated for Hepatitis C genotype 1a for 6 months using interferon and ribavirin, and these test results below are nearly 1 year POST hepaitis C treatment.

HIV TestsMy ValueNormal Range
ABS T HELPER382480 - 1700
% T HELPER2833 - 65

My Viral load was orginally 1 million and went undetectable within 6 weeks after starting ART and has remained undectable since. An undetectable viral load means you are surpressing the virus; the virus is not replicating, invading and attacking your immune system.

Before going into these labs I told my doctor I was going to be upset if my CD4 was below 400 again. Since my diagnosis I have only seen my CD4 above 400 just once. The lowest it got was 250 at the height of my HEP C treatment. My doctor called me about these results and told me my bone marrow/T cell generating sites still have not completely recovered from the interferon and that some take longer than others, but that I am in safe range.

A normal CD4 cell count in an HIV-negative man is between 400 and 1600 per cubic millimetre of blood (but doctors normally just give a figure, e.g. 500). CD4 cell counts in HIV-negative women tend to be a little higher, between 500 and 1700.

CD4 % : A normal result in a person with an intact immune system is about 40%, and a CD4 cell percentage below 20% indicates the same risk of becoming ill with an AIDS-definining illness as a CD4 cell count of about 200

Read more about HIV viral load, CD4, and Percentage

Hepatitis C Test My Value  Reference Range
HCV TMA (IU)<5<5

I learned of my Hepatitis C diagnosis in April of 2010. Once my CD4 reach the 400's I started hepatitis c treatment which consisted of interferon and ribavirin. Because I caught my hepatitis C in the acute statge my doctor was comfortable with 6 months of treatment vs the standard 11 months. I went from a 7 million Hep C viral load to undetectable by week 6, which is considered an RVR (Rapid Virologic Response). Six months post treatment I was still undetectable and remain so today, nearly 12 months post hep c treatment. This means I have CURED my hepatitis C. I cannot infect anyone with hep c and it will not come back, unless I become re-infected.

Read more about Hepatitis C

CBC TestsMy ValueNormal Range
ALBUMIN4.83.4 - 5.2
CALCIUM9.88.5 - 10.5
CHLORIDE10396 - 108
CREATININE1.060.70 - 1.20
GLUCOSE8365 - 139
POTASSIUM4.63.5 - 5.0
PROTEIN TOTAL8.16.0 - 8.3
SODIUM139135 - 145
AST (SGOT)251 - 50 
CO2 TOTAL27.322.0 - 32.0
ALT(SGPT)201 - 53

This is a basic panel of tests that are common in annual physicals. In people who are HIV positive and HIV negative. The tests I am concerned with most in this panel is the glucose test to tell if I may be diabetic, also sodium, and AST and ALT tests. You cannot tell from a CBC test that you have HIV. The AST and ALT tests are your liver function tests and most telling. These are indicators of how well your liver is functioning. If these numbers are above normal it could indicate liver disease such as hepatitis. When I found out I had hepatitis my AST was over 200 and my ALT was above 600!! With the cure of my hep c my Liver Function Tests (LFT's) are back to normal.

Read more about CBC tests and HIV

CBC+PLT+DIFF TestsMy Value Normal Range
WHITE BLOOD CELL3.74.5 - 11.0
RED BLOOD CELL4.274.50 - 6.00
HEMOGLOBIN13.713.9 - 16.3
HEMATOCRIT39.242.0 - 52.0
MEAN CORP. VOLUME91.880.0 - 98.0
MEAN CORP. HGB32.127.0 - 32.0
MEAN CORP. HGB CONC.3532.0 - 35.0
RED DISTRIB. WIDTH13.111.5 - 15.0
PLATELET174150 - 450
MEAN PLT VOLUME8.67.4 - 12.0
NEUTROPHIL %50.840.0 - 78.0
LYMPHOCYTE %36.515.0 - 50.0
MONOCYTE %10.32.0 - 11.0
EOSINOPHIL %1.90.0 - 5.0
BASOPHIL %0.50.0 - 1.0
NEUTROPHIL #1.91.9 - 8.0
LYMPHOCYTE #1.31.0 - 4.5
MONOCYTE #0.40.2 - 1.0
EOSINOPHIL #0.10.0 - 0.6
BASOPHIL #00.0 - 0.2

When look at these tests I look to my WBC and RBC, Platelets, as well as the "percentage" tests and "#' tests. These are indicators of infections, cancers, anemia, and so much more. People infected with HIV tend to have WBC and RBC on the lower side of normal as well as low platlets. If WBC and platlets are too low it may point to anemia and possible infection. You may need a transfusion if the numbers stay very low.  For the percents the higher to normal the better, for the #'s the lower the better. A low percent or higher # could indicate a cancer risk.

Read more about CBC W/DIFF

Miscellaneous Tests My value Normal Range
VITAMIN D, 25 HYDROXY46.230.0 - 100.0
GAMMA GT121 - 54
EGFR AFRICAN AM>60.00ml/min/1.73m
EGFR NON-AFR AM>60.00ml/min/1.73m

With these set of tests Vitamin D has become increasingly important in HIV positive and non infected individuals. Normal to high levels of Vitamin D have shown to decrease heart disease risk and shows bone loss, so the higher the better. If you live in the sun and are in the sun year round your number will tend to be high. I live in the North and am barely in the sun. I take 50,000 IU weekly of Vitamin D to keep this number up. Non-Reactive means - not infected.  Gamma GT is another test for liver damage the lower the number the better. EGFR is a kidney function test and anything over >60.00 is good!

To read more about the above lab tests and what they mean i've compiled a list of a few resources including the ones above.

HIV LAB Result Meanings:

Lab Test Interpretation

Lab Tests Online

AIDS Meds Lab Interpretations

Lab Interpretations from

On your smart phone check out the app LABGear

Different labs may have different reference ranges and taking certain medications can affect your test results.

By Kevin @RiseUpToHIV
on twitter:


  1. I really like how honest and open you are with your labs, kevin. I also am really keen on how you educate others, and intro to testing was a fantastic idear. Now i now what to look for when considering some of the test that i need to ask for, and what sort of results I can compare it too.
    Keep up the good work and especially the education
    Your aussie friend

  2. I've gotten my ABS T helper up to 1400 by eating lots of raspberries (1 cup or more) daily along with other antioxidants in my diet. Diet can boost your numbers greatly I have found. I was below 250 in 2004. They remained relatively low until last year. I am a strong proponent of doing as many holistic methods as possible.

  3. The bloodwork you get every 3 months is a typical profile of what your doctor needs to help manage your HIV. You don't get to choose what tests you want. Please don't confuse a newly diagnosed person think its their responsibility to ask for particular tests. Testing in total has come a long way. When you get that every three months, should something come back, your doctor may request addition tests. I've been positive over 21 years. I've had no medical issues, my viral load undetectable, and tcell counts are over 400 and I'm at 18%.


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