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Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Mar;151(3):432-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2007.03573.x. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Factors associated with CD4 lymphocyte counts in HIV-negative Senegalese individuals.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


CD4+ lymphocytes are a primary target of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and CD4 counts are one of the factors used to measure disease progression in HIV-positive individuals. CD4 counts vary in uninfected individuals and across populations due to a variety of demographic, environmental, immunological and genetic factors that probably persist throughout the course of HIV infection. This study sought to determine reference levels and identify factors that influence lymphocyte counts in 681 HIV-uninfected adults in Senegal, where residents are exposed to a variety of infectious diseases and other conditions that may affect CD4 counts. Lymphocyte counts were assessed in commercial sex workers, symptomatic men and women presenting to the University of Dakar infectious disease clinic for out-patient care and women seeking family planning services. CD4 and CD3 lymphocyte counts differed between the four study groups (P < 0.01). Men had the lowest mean CD4 count (711.6 cells/microl), while commercial sex workers had the highest levels (966.0 cells/microl). After adjustment for age and other behavioural and clinical factors, the difference in CD4 counts between the three groups of women did not remain. However, both gender and smoking were associated independently with CD4 counts, as men maintained lower mean CD4 counts (beta = -156.4 cells/microl, P < 0.01) and smokers had higher mean CD4 counts (beta = 124.0 cells/microl, P < 0.01) than non-smokers in multivariable analyses. This study is the first to explore factors that may influence CD4 levels in Senegal and to estimate baseline CD4 levels among HIV-negatives, information that may guide clinicians in interpreting CD4 counts.

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