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Strange numbers on my tests
May 20, 2001

I get tested every 3 months as part of a study I am part of. The most recent tests showed a positive on 2 bands on the Western Blot test. They feel they are catching me in seroconversion. However, they just did viral load and tcell tests and my viral load is only 2,200 and my CD4 is 805 58 and CD8 was like 228 and 25. Which they told me was normal. My doc wants to go ahead and put me on meds with the hope that potentially with my low viral load and good immune response, my body might either defeat the virus or at least be able to control the virus without long term meds. Do you have an opinion on this?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It would be helpful to know which 2 bands on the western blot were positive. The pattern is helpful in defining acute infection. The viral load is low for acute infection, but clearly possible, depending on when infection actually occurred. It also could be low positive because of subtype issues, in that PCR based assays may not detect and quantitate all HIV-1 subtypes equally. If all the numbers are accurate, given those numbers, many docs would elect not to treat at this point. There is no data (although good rationale) that indicates that starting treatment early is ultimately beneficial. MH



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