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what is the cutoff?
Oct 15, 1998

you stated that someone can have a vload from 0-499 what is the number to be considered as having hiv above 500? and are the numbers the same in every state

Response from Dr. Holodniy

There is no absolute number above 500 which indicates that HIV infection is present. Any detectable viral load is evidence of HIV infection. There is no difference between states in this principle. Each individual has their own set point or level of virus that can be quantitated in the blood. This level varies from < 50 copies/ml (the current ultrasensitive viral load assay cutoff) to millions of copies/ml of blood. Because the newer assays are more sensitive, many patients who had levels of < 500 or "undetectable", have been found to have "detectable", quantitatable virus at levels between 50-499/ml. Using even more sensitive qualitative assays, we also know that some people with < 50 copies/ml also have detectable viral loads. We just can't quantitate that low yet with any accuracy.

MH



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