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Lyme and HIV Testing
Feb 10, 2013

I was diagnosed with HIV by Western Blot in December 2012. I have few risk factors (heterosexual, no drug use, few sex partners, but have had unprotected sex before). My doctor did a second Western Blot to confirm the diagnosis. I told my girlfriend, who went and got tested and was also determined to be HIV positive. Here is our health info:

My viral load is 10,000; my CD4 is 700+. Her viral load is undetectable; CD4 is 800+. I have no symptoms at all. She has many symptoms. Based on her viral load and CD4 count, her doctor believes she maybe an elite controller but wanted to rule out lyme disease 1st. Her Western Blot for lyme disease was positive! So she has a positive Western Blot for HIV and a positive Western Blot for lyme, but has undetectable viral load for HIV, perfectly fine CD4 count, and symptoms? After researching lyme a bit more, her symptoms line up more so with Lyme disease than HIV. So the question is, how can we tell if this is truly HIV, lyme, or both given the cross sensitivity of current tests?

My second question is, how would lyme disease relate to the HIV viral load test? I also got a flu shot about a month before my viral load test was completed. However, once tested positive, I was a good patient and started Atripla ASAP. I go in for my follow-up after starting treatment soon. If my viral load is now undetectable, how is it possible to determine if its a result of the Atripla, or if its a false positive to begin with?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

If her HIV screening and western blot test are positive, then that indicates HIV infection. Lyme disease would have nothing to do with the HIV viral load results. You had a HIV viral load of 10,000 before starting Atripla, and if you are taking your medications as prescribed, your HIV viral load would become undetectable as result of the Atripla.



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