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How sensitive a VL test?
Jul 19, 2000

Dear Doc H: First, thank you for all your great work with this forum. I read questions from people all the time that make reference to VL tests < 20, or < 13. My doc, an ID specialist, uses the <50 and has used nothing else (that I know of) for a couple of years now. Am I missing something by not being tested at 20 or 13? My VL is undetectable at the <50 test (knock wood!) Thanks again. Brian

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Good to hear you are doing so well with respect to viral load. The currently commercially available viral load assays have lower viral load cutoffs of 50 copies/ml. Some "homebrew assays", and some labs using commercial assays push the assay threshold by extrapolating down to some lower level below 50. There is much greater variability at these lower levels. It also remains to be seen whether knowing these lower copy numbers translates to better clinical outcomes.

MH



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