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Strain of virus?
Aug 21, 2005

I have recently been diagnosed with HIV and (as well as being in a bit of a desperate state) have two questions.

First, what is looked for in viral detection tests.

Second, can the (possibly mutated) strain of HIV virus itself be detected through a biopsy of the lymphds nodes (and/or a PET scan)?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Viral detection tests, as I would interpret your question, are what we call HIV viral load tests. These tests quantify the amount of virus (in copy number) that you have in blood plasma. The tests are very useful in determining who should be on treatment and to follow treatment response. Mutated strains of virus would not be detected by lymph node biopsy or PET scan. Mutated strains, for instance associated with HIV drug resistance, are performed by examining the genetic sequence of the virus and looking for specific mutations. This is a common blood test that we use in the clinic. Other mutations in genes not associated with HIV medication drug resistance are not routinely looked for, and so these would be very specific research tests not available in a standard commercial lab.



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