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antibody test vs. viral load
Sep 13, 2003

A little over one month ago, I was very ill with what my doctor called conversion illness (which included cryptosporidiosis). My antibody test was NEGATIVE, but they put me on meds anyway, and did a viral load test that came back over 100,000. I have been on meds since then. (Current VL is 80, CD4 988). I have not had another antibody test taken, so I have never had one that said positive. I recently told someone else about this, and they were shocked, and said that it sounded very sketchy and that I could not even be sure I was positive without an antibody test, and a viral load test should not have been taken until an antibody test comes back positive. They said a viral load test could have just shown virus because I was sick with something else, that everyone who is sick has a viral load of some sort. This worried me as to the credibility of my doctors, and made me wonder, again, the truth of my hiv status. This is all confusing enough as it is, and now this person is confusing me more. Can you please help me?? Is a viral load test a valid way of knowing I am positive, without ever getting an antibody-positive test to confirm it?? Thank you...

Response from Dr. Holodniy

A HIV-1 viral load test demonstrates you have circulating HIV in your blood and that you have HIV infection.



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