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A different type of question
Feb 8, 1999

Hi doctor, I have a question that I dont believe Ive seen in your column or anyone elses as of yet. I was at the Board of health getting an HIV test, and I asked the RN taking my blood about what types of seroconversion times they typically see. He said that it was dependant on the viral load of the person that transmitted the virus. If a person had a high viral load, the person that they infected would seroconvert sooner etc. This didnt make total sense to me because I thought that the development of antibodies was more a function of the new host's system more than anything else. Do you think that (if this were possible), that a person infected with a small amount of the virus (copies wise), would tend to seroconvert slower than that same person infected with a larger amount of the virus? Maybe this isnt important in the grand scheme of things, but I found the question interesting. Thank you, your column is the greatest, you really help a lot of people!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It is a very interesting question. There is no data regarding an answer to that question. I think you are correct regarding antibody development. The higher viral load of the donor would make infection more likely, but it's not clear that antibodies would develop sooner. MH



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