July / August #93 : Cell Low, Cell High - by David Gelman, MD

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Publisher's Letter


Sex Ed’s Rubber Rubout

PREPing For Sex

On Me, Not Inn Me

Out Of Data


I Go Shout Plenty

Class Pictures


Time Out

Bill Me Later


Natal Attraction


Wall Of Controversy

Shades Of Gray

Give Me Fever

Bad Meds

Hot And Bothered

Pass The Scalpel—And The Bucks

Northern Exposure

Cell Low, Cell High

Pillow Talk

Neg (-) But (+) For Lipo

A New Gay Plague?

Hard Workin’ Beans

Viread, Once A Wonder Drug

It's His Party

Out Of Sight

The Truth About Cats And Dogs (& A Horse And A Bird)

Getting’ Hot In Here

The Big Bang Theory

Walk This Way

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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July / August 2003

Cell Low, Cell High

by David Gelman, MD

Even veteran HIVers sometimes get all those different kinds of white blood cells mixed up. Here’s help for the bloodhound:

Lymphocytes—Xenophobic white blood cells responsible for booting from the body anything foreign (viruses, bacteria, even tumors). Lymphocytes include T cells (see below), B cells (Bs make antibodies, proteins that destroy interlopers) and the rare NK (“natural killer”) cells, which target virus-infected or cancerous cells.

T Cells—A type of lymphocyte, they’re “T” cells because they’re programmed in the thymus gland (in your neck). Ts discriminate between friend (your own body or immune system) and foe (anything alien). They fall into two groups: CD8+ T cells (which fight infection within cells) and the studly, drill sergeant CD4+ T cells (which tell the Bs to make those antibodies).

CD4+ Cells—Pronounced “cee dee four positive.” When docs say “Your T-cell count is...,” they really mean “Your CD4+ T-cell count is....” Generally called “T helper cells,” these brave little units are specifically targeted by HIV. Doctors count ’em to determine the overall strength of your immune system.

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