Can I know at what rate is HI virus reproducing in my body?
Sep 29, 2013
Is it possible to tell or estimate at what rate is the virus reproducing itself in my body? Can ARVs stop the virus reproduction completely? What does it mean when the dr say it will take on average 70years for the medication to completely eliminate HIV in a human body, while it is said the viral load may become undetectable within 6months from a value above the value of 10log?
Response from Dr. Holodniy
The virus exists in two forms, free viral particles and virus that is integrated into host cells like CD4 cells. There are estimates that in the absence of HIV treatment, there is approximately 10(9)-10(10) viral particles in blood and all extracellular fluids at any one time. One CD4 is estimated to make 10(3) - 10(4) particles during its life span, but of course there are billions of these cells in the body. HIV treatment today is very good at shutting down viral production to almost zero, but is not very good at killing the already infected cells that have HIV integrated into the host cell genome. Some of these infected cells can circulate for years. Thus, HIV treatment can pretty much stop ongoing production of free viral particles and prevent the infection of CD4 cells, but it takes years for the body's immune system to get rid of these long lived cells that contain the integrated viral form. Hence the 70 year estimate.
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