Initial Test Results to Determine Window of Infection
May 16, 2010
1) In my initial test tests, I was mid-seroconversion (acute HIV Infection), I tested negative for antibodies (Western Blot/ELISA), but had a viral load of 940k and a CD4 count of 575. I had a fairly acute reaction to the virus at that point, 102 degree fever, characteristic rash, etc. My doc knew exactly what was going on...
Based upon these results, is it possible to determine approximately when infection occurred or how long I'd been carrying the virus? Phrased another way, is there a natural curve to viral load growth over time post infection?
2) Is there any correlation between the strength of the symptoms/severity of acute HIV infection and either anticipated immune response or the potency of the particular viral strain?
Response from Dr. Holodniy
If you had multiple serial samples and had some other tests performed that included things like p24 antigen and HIV viral load, then yes you could be more precise on the timing of infection. Conventional antibody and western blot tests will not be able to determine that. Given the description of your symptoms and laboratory results infection is likely to have occurred within a few days to weeks of your symptoms. The prediction of symptoms and immune response has been somewhat controversial in the literature. It depends on who you read and what they were measuring.
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