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Relationship with viral load to transmission?

Jun 7, 2000

Have there ever been any studies linking a higher viral load to the transmission of HIV? For example, is it just as likely for someone with a VL of <50 to transmit the virus as someone with a VL of 15,000? Or 100,000?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

In general, the higher the viral load, the more likely transmission can occur. Plasma viral load is not the only factor in determining transmission. The virus also exists inside lymphocytes in the blood, even in people with viral loads <50/ml. A recent study from Africa just published, indicated that people with viral loads of < 1,500/ml did not transmit the virus to their partner. I would be very cautious about the interpretation of these results and not look for an absolute number.


Extremely High Viral Load
question on tcell count

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