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confused about test results.

Jun 28, 2002

Since Feb 2000 I am diagnosed as HIV+. In a discussion with my doctor we decided to just keep track of my cd4 & viralload as we didn't see any use in starting treatment right away. Since Feb. 2002 I have had regular checks on my CD4 & Viralload. This year, March 2002, my cd4 had dropped to 300, with a viralload of 49.000. Again we discussed it and as my viralload had dubbled (it came from 21.000 -oct 2001) and my cd4 had taken a somewhat big step back (470 -oct 2001) we decided to start treatment. Now being in the proces of deciding on medication, the hospital has done another test and came with the following result: viralload - 5464 cd4 - 280. Is this possible. Asking the internist at the hospital about it, I got the answer that there is always a fluctuation in the viralload. Can it be such a big one over the period of 1 month.

Below all the dates and figures on my cd4 & viralload: Febr. 2000: Viralload - 650.000 (early infection) /cd4 - n.a. May 2000: viralload - 27.000 /cd4 - 630 Nov. 2000: viralload - 21.000 /cd4 - 600 May 2001: viralload - 26.000 /cd4 - 550 Oct 2001: viralload - 21.000 /cd4 - 470 Mar 2002: viralload - 49.000 /cd4 - 300 Apr 2002: viralload - 39.000 /cd4 - 260 May 2002: viralload - 5464 /cd4 - 280.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

That seems a little more than "fluctuation" or noise in the assay. Usually we can see up to a 3 fold (3 times difference, up or down). Your prior numbers were remarkably consistent. The possibilities are that it is real, different method, or lab error.

viral load
Opportunistic Infections

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