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Variation in VL for the newly infected

Jul 28, 2000

Dr. Holodniy,

I'm not sure exactly when I was infected, but I was diagnosed HIV-positive in mid-June. My first VL count was 358,000. What causes the difference between numbers like that and the people with counts below, say, 100? For example, would my count have been lower if I had tested sooner? (I waited a year after my last HIV test.) Does a higher count mean that the person who infected me was sicker, further along in the disease? Thanks for this forum.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

We don't exactly know what determines the viral load that people end up with after antibodies develop. It's more related to you and not the person where you got the virus from.We do know that after acute infection and before antibodies develop, viral load levels are very high (100,000 to over a million). Everybody's immune system is somewhat different. Some people develop an efficient immune response (cytotoxic t cells) that contain viral replication, and some people don't. MH

Is any VL under 50 Undetectable?
Non-detectable viral load

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