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co-infect
Mar 28, 2005

Dear Dr. McGovern: In the event of simultaneously acquired HIV and Hep C, would serum viral loads for these pathogens remain low until competent immune response mounted? Or would viremia be detectable even in absence of competent or timely immune response? thanks.

Response from Dr. McGovern

I would expect the viruses to be present and that the immune system would respond in some way to each one.

However, there is a phenomenon called "viral interference" where two viruses can "compete" with one another. I also think it possible that acquisition of both viruses at the same time can be more difficult for the immune response to handle since it is trying to cope with two major infections at the same time. HIV attacks CD4 cells which are also important in fighting off HCV.

Dr. McGovern



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