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quick question about viral load, PLEASE RESPOND
Aug 3, 1999

Dear Mark, when you and others say that viral load is high during acute viral or retroviral syndrome, do you all mean that as soon as symptoms develop, or when symptoms go away? If it is high shouldn't the PCR pick it up? I took a PCR and P24 antigen test 3 weeks after exposure and this was when my so called ARS symptoms were minimizing. They came back negative and my doc assures me that this is extremely accurate. Could you answer my question and comment on my doc's comment please?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Again, there is not a lot of serial sample data from people during acute infection. Most people seek medical attention with symptoms. That is usually 2-3 weeks after exposure. If infected, the viral load will almost always be positive at that time. This is not a precise science. We would need to infect people and then follow them with daily blood draws to get the answers you want. MH



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