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Antibiotics, infections and viral load

Nov 6, 2000

Dear Dr. Holodniy,

1. What affect, if any, will antibiotic treatment have on the viral load tests? Can the numbers be driven down or up by antibiotics?

2. If an individual has any other infection, how will this impact the viral load testing?

Thank you in advance...

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Antibiotics themselves will not affect the viral load, either in the assay itself, or in a person. We do know that certain kinds of infections and vaccinations can increase viral load transiently by 2-100 times. Not all kinds of infections have been studied. We know that a serious pneumonia can increase the viral load, but probably not the common cold. Antibiotics given to treat the infection, will result in resolution of the infection and hence the viral load going back down. In people with undetectable viral loads on HIV treatment, it is unlikely that the viral load will increase in the face of infection.


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