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strep throat causes increased viral load?
Feb 16, 1999

Every time I take my son to the HIV clinic, they talk about a different reason to change his medication regimen (zerit,viramune,and videx) to a protease inhibitor regimen. Sometimes they talk about viral load, sometimes about the percentage of t-cells, sometimes his white blood count. It never is the same factor, and I worry that they are trying to confuse me. Not so long ago, his percentage of t-cells was 13%. They said they were worried if it got below 18%. Now it is twenty% and they are talking about a low white blood count. I know viral loads vary from day to day. The last viral load test taken was when he had a strep throat, 85,000. They want me to switch him to the PI's, but noone has mentioned resistance testing. He has had significant weight and height gain. He is only eight years old. I don't want to start him on the PI's yet. If he had a strep throat when they did his viral load, would it affect his counts? It has never been below 10,00 on his present meds. I think his t-cells are around 200, but he is a thriving child with no opportunustic infections.

nervous mom

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Dear Mom, your doctors are trying to get your son's viral load below detectable levels. It sounds like the combination he is on now is not doing the trick. We know that some infections can increase viral load transiently (including pneumonias, herpes infections among others). Strep throat has not been reported to my knowledge. But it seems any infection that can turn on the immune system, can turn on HIV to replicate. The increase in viral load with these other infections is usually blunted in those people receiving antiviral therapy. MH



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