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Really confused here. PCR results may either be ruining my life, or saving it.
Sep 2, 2012

I am a 39 y/o male, and about a year ago, I had unprotected sex with another male. About 19 days later, I had become really sick with high fever + rash and visited the doctor. On the 25th day, I was dx with HIV, based on results of the PCR assay, which had a VL of over 500,000 copies/mL and a T-cell count of 156. Two HIV antibody tests that week, however, resulted in a negative status. I started on a drug regimen the day of dx, plus Bactrim. 45 days later, t-cell count was 750 and VL was 6,410. Bactrim was stopped due to liver issues. Jan, Apr and July resulted in untedectable VL and T-cell counts of 1221 - 1224 each time. I asked for another HIV antibody test in Apr, and the results were still negative. Doctor attributed it to several things, and said we would repeat it after six solid months. Well, last week, I met with a different infectious diseases doctor, and my HIV antibody test is still negative. In a few days, it will be 11 months since the unprotected sex event. My t cell counts are high, my immune system seems to be doing well, I've have 100% adherence to my medicines, labs are good, T cell count is excellent. The doctor said he needs a few days to read about the possible reasons that HIV antibodies have not yet developed. As I uderstand, sometimes it could be a delayed rxn due to a very damaged immune system, though he doesnt think that is the case with me.

Just when I've been learning to move forward with this, the news has me and my family and friends on an emotional roller coaster. What should I make of the results?

Do you think it's possible that this was something else and .....???

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Two HIV viral loads on different samples that are positive indicates HIV infection. I have no explanation for the antibody results. You could stop the HIV meds and see whether the HIV viral load becomes detectable again, or get a HIV DNA test which looks for HIV inside circulating blood cells.



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