Can T Cells Drop for Reasons Other Than HIV?

Dear Christine,

I recently tested HIV positive. So far, nobody’s pushing me to jump on the meds although my T cells are a bit below 500. Since I had mononucleosis 10 months before testing positive, could this have affected my T cell count? Do viruses other than HIV destroy T cells?


New York City

Dear New York,

Epstein-Barr, the virus that causes mono, is unlike HIV in that it is cytotoxic. In simple terms, this means it is able to kill or damage cells. There are also other viruses capable of destroying T cells and during the course of illness, these viruses may infect up to half of all immune cells.

Other viruses actually cause massive immune cell destruction all the time in all kinds of people without causing AIDS. And unlike HIV, these viruses can be readily found in abundant quantities without using PCR technology and complex mathematical formulas. Oddly, HIV is non-cytotoxic, and has not shown to destroy T cells, but is still thought to cause fatal immune suppression.

If you read up on T cells you will find that many mainstream AIDS experts acknowledge we don't know a lot about what T cell measures mean. While everyone agrees that T cells play a vital role in the function our immune system, no research actually defines how many we should be able to measure in the peripheral blood of healthy people or what the presence of T cells in peripheral blood indicates.

Government AIDS expert Dr. Anthony Fauci's pre-AIDS work demonstrated that T cells retreat to the lymph glands when we are under physical or emotional stress. It is also known that T cell measures can fluctuate 100% in the course of a day. As one AIDS expert recently put it, T cell counts are as reliable as "the flip of a coin."

I noticed in a Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome newsletter that a number of people diagnosed with CFIDS (many of whom have chronic mono) have T cells that are all over the place—high in some cases and low in others—among people suffering from the same set of problems.

I hope I’ve answered your question,


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