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Want first ever vl test to be accurate

May 24, 2001

My husband is a ltnp (positive for over fifteen years with no symptoms and no treatment), finally going in for his first ever viral load test. He hasn't been under a doctor's care because he usually doesn't get sick at all, not even colds or flu. But for the past few weeks he's been having tightness in the lungs and a low grade fever, and the doctor he went to has ordered a viral load test. My husband's concerned about getting an accurate measurement while he's fighting some sort of infection. How useful is a viral load test if it's taken while the person is sick? I know it's hard to say, since we don't know exactly what he's sick with yet. But will the relationship of viral load to tcells be the same, as if it were a baseline reading? What's the point of testing if the results won't be accurate? We're confused. Thank you for your help.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It's hard to know what the viral load might do in this situation. In general, in those with detectable viral loads, an acute infection (like pneumonia), can increase the viral load 10 times or more in the absence of HIV treatment. In LTNP who might have undetectable viral loads (< 50/ml), and present with acute infections, it is not really known what will happen. MH

Re: How important are the numbers - May 16 answer

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