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Being Alive



Being Alive 1994 Feb 5: 1

A recent report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (November 1993) points out the importance of HIV in cells other than the CD4 cells. We know that cells called Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) harbor HIV. These include macrophages and monocytes. Unlike CD4, the depletion of these cells does not result in immunosuppression. Nonetheless, the presence of HIV in the PBMCs does add to the overall viral burden.

Researchers in Paris looked at the rate of CD4 decline over a two year period among a group of HIV+ patients. Those whose CD4 count declined by over 60% were the rapid decliners. And this was the group with the highest level of virus in their PBMCs.

This study tells us something we already know: increased viral burden is associated with more rapid disease progression. This study alerts us, however, to the fact that the virus is not just in CD4, but in other cells as well. And any antiviral, to be really effective, has to target HIV in more than just the CD4 cells.


Information in this article was accurate in February 5, 1994. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.