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Weird Viral Load Results
Sep 19, 2004

My viral load shot up from low hundreds to 8,000 LabCorp) after starting Kalatra and Saquinavir. My blood was evaluated at another lab(ultra sensitive test) which showed <40 a month later. Also, neither phenotype and genotype resistance could be found. But the next month the first lab again found my viral load to be 3,000. My T cells have remained steady at about 30% through all of this. What do you think may be causing these inconsistent findings? Are different viral load tests sensitive to different strains of the virus? What does this mean in terms of the effectiveness of my regimen?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Very weird indeed. In could indeed be different viral load assay methods. Tests done at different labs but using the same type of assay would not have this kind of variability. If your viral load was already in the hundreds, and is now in the thousands, these could be the real values and the < 40/ml is the outlier. If LabCorp has found detectable viral load twice, I would consider getting resistance testing on those samples. The viral load level should not be a problem to get a resistance test result. It is best to rule out the slow development of resistance earlier rather than later.



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