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First elevation in viral load
Jun 7, 2000

I recently got back my first test results to show detectable viral load in 4.5 years of infection and am concerned.

The viral load on my latest tests is 1550 copies/ml. However, my CD4 and CD8 levels/percentages remain stable. The CD4/CD8 percentage has always been in the 30-40% area. The latest results are CD4 1248 (42%) and CD8 898 (32%).

My doctor theorizes that the increase in viral load is due to replication of a virus that, while active, has been radically weakened by the HAART combination I have been on. (I am taking 3TC, Ziagen, and nevirapine. I switched to Ziagen in April after going off d4t because of neuropathy.)

My question is, should I be concerned about the elevation in viral load?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Maybe. Blips happen. If a repeat test shows the same or higher result, then it is real. You need to make sure that there aren't other factors involved (ie, lab error and not your sample, adherence problems, other ongoing infections or medical problems). You and your doctor will need to decide whether you want to change treatment now, and get back to a viral load of MH



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