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viral load way down

Oct 19, 1998

is there such a thing as viral clearing?we read in the papers and articles that a few people have tested positive and years later they have no signs of the virus i think most of the news has been about babies who at birth were +and were later found to be - is this possible?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

This was reported in one baby in the New England Journal of Medicine. This baby allegedly had viral evidence that it was infected, and this subsequently disappeared. This should not be confused with the fact that many babies born to HIV infected moms can be HIV antibody positive for several months after birth and not ever be infected. This is because of maternal antibody transfer across the placenta to the fetus. Other anecdotes record the presence of cell based HIV specific immunity in labworkers, even though they are not infected. It is thought that constant exposure to the virus (but not true infection) allowed these folks to develop a specific immune response to the virus. Finally there is a small group of HIV infected people who were infected 10-15 years ago and have "undetectable" levels of virus in their blood and are not taking any therapy. These are long term nonprogressors and seem to have genetic based ability to control the virus better. More sophisticated tests have shown that they are still infected. MH

Some Real Numbers, Please!

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