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Viral Load
Aug 4, 2001

Hi-

I recently tested positive for HIV. This was my first test, yet I had always been concerned that I might be positive. I feel very healthy physically and am trying to maintain a positive mental perspective.

The results from my HIV viral count came back yesterday, and although I cannot tell you my CD4 count (those results were unavailable), I know that my viral load is around 60,000. I am not quite sure what this indicates. Is this considered a high count? If so, does it mean that it can be treated and decreased? Is now the time for medication?

I have an appointment with an HIV specialist in a few weeks. I just want to know where I stand and be a little better prepared for my visit with the doctor. Thanks a lot!

Bronx, NYC

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The current guidelines suggest that treatment should be recommended to those with CD4 counts < 350 and/or viral loads >30-55,000/ml, depending on the assay type. Your viral load is in the moderately high range. With effective treatment, it will almost certainly go down to "undetectable" (< 50/ml) within a few weeks. I would guess your CD4 count will be at a level that warrants starting treatment sooner, rather than later. MH



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