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Viral Load Blips
Oct 21, 2007

Dear Doc. I have been on meds for about a year and a half now. It took a while for my viral load to reach undetectable levels but did so in December of last year from a count of 400,000. I have just had a recent result back which has shown my Viral load has increased from undetectable to 43 copies. I realise that this is a very minor blip but I cant help feeling that this is a trend upwards. I want to point out that I have tremendous faith in the medical team which help me to manage my HIV and at present they dont seem to be too concerned. Infact they have extended my monitoring periods for labs from every three months to every four months. Would you agree with this? Or do you think I sould have another test sooner. My absolute CD4 is responding well going from 80 to 320 in a year and a half and percentage has gone from 6% to 18%. I also have a highly active HPV strain which is causing warts at the moment for which I am being treated with immiquimod. Thanking you in advance for your answer and for all the help you give us all!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

First you have had a tremendous response to HIV treatment. I would NOT consider that blip as clinically significant, and is most likely the result of assay variability. It is most likely on repeat, that your viral load will again be undetectable. The visit frequency question is a stylistic one. We routinely see people every 3 months. Some we see monthly because of more advanced disease or ongoing medical or adherence problems, and some we see every 6 months because they are doing well and are on stable HIV meds or perhaps don't require meds. Sometimes it is the volume of the clinic or insurance carriers who might dictate such questions. I can't say specifically in your case. They obviously think you are doing well enough to warrant only every 4 months.



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