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Test Causing Higher VL?

Jul 20, 2003

Dr. Holodniy, Since the beginning of the year my viral load has risen from undetectable to around 1,400 copies/mml. While my CD4+ T cell count has remained between 1,000 and 1,240 cells/mml for over a decade. I've taken AZT monotherapy (since ACTG019) for eight years, then several dual nucleoside analog combinations since then.

Starting early this year my viral load has remained well above undetectable (1,400 copies/mml). When I asked my healthcare professionals about this I was told that it just might be because of the new diagnostic (PCR RNA Version 1.5), which became available early this year.

Have you heard of any other HIV+ patients suddenly having higher viral loads after the introduction of the new diagnostic (PCR RNA Version 1.5)?

Thank you.


Response from Dr. Holodniy

I am not clear as to whether you are currently on treatment. It would be extremely unusual that your viral load would go from undetectable to consistently 1400 because of assay change. I would be concerned that some element of resistant virus is present. Given that your viral load is over 1,000, a resistance test maybe in order here.

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