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Viral Load As It Relates to Infectivity
Dec 28, 1998

Hello.. I have read that having a low/undetectable viral load reduces infectivity or frequency of trasmitting it to others. Seems to me this would be assuming that reduced viral serum levels reflect reduced sexual fluid viral levels. Has this been actually documented ? Also..I am curious if remaining undetectable for a "period" of time influences this issue. Logic would seem that the longer your keeping the virus at low blood levels the better chance your body has to keep it at bay in various places in the body...but what about the "harbors" for HIV.. I'd like to add that I think the goal of making HIV "unimportant"in the human body may be a major accomplishment before a actual cure becomes available if indeed it ever becomes available.The body is capable of amazing things...and hopefully HIV will not be able to continue its rampage much longer. In addition..do you know if the "warts" HIV + people get on there hands and anal warts are contagious to healthy immune systems?Is that HPV? Thanks a bunch!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Current HIV therapies which have made people "undetectable" in the blood, have generally either reduced or made viral load undetectable in semen and spinal fluid. These therapies by no means eliminate the virus from the body. Recently published studies in people with undetectable viral load in the blood, have shown that infectious virus can be obtained from blood or lymph gland cells. This is also true from semen or vaginal/cervical secretions. Because these fluids contain infected cells, even in the absence of detectable viral load, people should be considered infectious. Documentation of infection to someone from someone with undetectable viral load is hard to come by though. HPV does cause warts and can be transmitted to HIV uninfected people. MH



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