Oct 30, 2002
What does it mean when some one is told their HIV is dormaint(not sure if I spelled that correctly)
Response from Dr. Remien
I do not know what this means in this context since "dormant" is not an accurate term when describing HIV infection. Once someone is infected with HIV the virus is never dormant (i.e., totally asleep or inactive). The body's immune system can do a very good job of keeping the virus at very low levels which helps keep HIV from causing much damage to the immune system. (The main way HIV causes damage is by destroying CD4+ cells - the helper cells that help the body fight infections). However, the virus is always replicating. When someone is told that their viral load is "undetectable," this means that it is reproducing at a rate that is lower than the test can detect (this has to do with sensitivity of the assay used to test viral load), however, it is not "dormant."
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