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Is any VL under 50 Undetectable?

Jul 31, 2000

Help! I'm thoroughly confused by conflicting information on RNA PCR test results. I have been on HAART for 16 months. On the lab report it says results less than 13 are reported as undetectable. Results equal to or greater than 13 but less than 26 are reported as detectable. Most of the time my VL tests come back undetectable (less than 13). Twice they have come back detectable (greater than 13 but less than 26). My doctor says he would prefer to see them all undetectable. Others have told me that anything under 50 is considered undetectable and not to worry about it. I'm not really worried, I would just like to know who's right?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Everybody is probably right. The current benchmark is 50 copies. Results below that can be extrapolated from the current commercially available assays. There is definite variability in the assays below 50. This might explain your results. There are also experimental assays that are qualitative (yes/no answers) which can detect virus down to 1-5 copies.


Variation in VL for the newly infected

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