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hidden resovoirs

Jan 14, 1999

Hello: Given that some anti-HIV therapies can reduce HIV to undetecatable levels in blood, is there any value in looking at lymph nodes or other body tissues? Is anyone doing research on looking at HIV in lymph nodes and other body tissues (ie. brain)? If so what have researchers learned?

I guess what I am asking is do you forsee a time in the future where plasma viral load might be accopmanied by a tissue viral load test to help determine if the virus is truly cleared form the body?

Sorry for so many questions. I just read other readers' questions about undetectable levels of the virus in the plasma and how HIV sometimes hides in the lymph nodes and it made me wonder.

Thank you very much!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Blood viral load is a very good mirror of the lymph nodes. It would be be too invasive to get ongoing lymph node biopsies from people. Yes these studies have been done. When the viral load is undetectable in the blood, there is very little if any replication going on in the lymph nodes. There are still however, infected cells which can be coaxed in the test tube to produce infectious virus. MH

quantitative PCR review

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