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Diagnose with AIDS and till now its still below 100

Jul 28, 2013

Hi Mark,

I was diagnosed with AIDS and Kaposi Sarcoma in Aug 2012 with a CD4 of 7. Now its July 2013, and my CD4 has only gone up to 83. My KS is still under treatment as it affects my lungs and gastro...though I barely symptomatic - not breathless, no bleeding from gut, no diarrhea - I am doing fine feel healthy except I will feel a bit tired if I overwork myself.

My viral load was 300,000 when I was diagnosed and 3 months later it went down to 175 and 6 months from diagnosis, I became undetectable. Strangely, my latest report came in my viral load is detected but at < 40 copies/ml. I find this report strange as I thot < 40 copies should be defined as undetectable right ? But why the hospital report came in as DETECTED whereas Feb 2013 report came in as just UNDETECTABLE with no amount indicated. U got any idea about this ? Am i safe?

Btw with such a low CD4 I am just worried if I can live long coupled with the fact that I have a bad KS which spreads to the lungs and gastro though asymptomatic and seem to be regressing now. But it still there wonder how much does it take to remove it entirely? My doctor said my CD4 reaches above 150 then it will be more confident that the KS will start to disappear faster. I am patiently waiting and hoping.

Hope to hear from you. Does having KS and AIDS means I am doomed ?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

From a viral load perspective, you are in good shape. There has been a change in reporting for some kinds of HIV viral load assays, and this has caused some heartburn for patients and providers. The assays have gotten more sensitive whereby they can detect the presence of HIV viral load, say below 40 copies/mL, but the number is too variable for them to report an exact number. Hence the detectable, but not quantifiable remark. Some studies have indicated that having any detectable amount of HIV viral load in the blood, puts one at risk for treatment failure. However, other studies have not reported this finding, and it is not clear what one should do, as studies that have added drugs to someone who is technically undetectable by quantitation, but still detectable qualitatively, don't seem to get people to zero.

I also agree with your doctor's assessment and prediction.

hiv positive male on meds has sex with wife who is hiv neg on her cycle
HIV in Semen

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