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spike in viral load after being undectable

Feb 19, 2012

I was diagnosed with late stage AIDS in November 2008, at that time my CD4 count was 10 and my viral load was 225,000. I multiple opportunistic infections and was in pretty bad shape. I began taking Atripla in Jan, 2009 after recovering from an acute case of pneumonia. Since then my CD4 has crept up to 287 and I have had an undectable viral load until my most recent labs. My doctor said my viral load is 225 now and is going to retest me in 3 weeks to see what changes if any show up. He tells me not to worry it but he says that alot. What should I know about what may be happening here? P.S. I have been very consistant with my meds and have not skipped a single day of taking my meds. Please advise me. Thanks!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Your doctor is correct in retesting your viral load. In general, a single viral load blip in someone who has been undetectable for a couple of years would not be considered significant, particularly if on retest the viral load is undetectable again. If the viral load is again in the 200s or higher, then a cause for that needs to be explored. Given you are taking your meds, that is likely not the cause. Resistant virus could have developed, but if the viral load remains low, it is difficult to get a resistance test to figure that out. You may be left with watchful waiting or changing your HIV meds to get the viral load undetectable again.

252 CD4 count
Medications for other illness with HIV infection.

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