Feb 26, 2003
hi there....well i was wondering, is there a way to measure the rate at wich th hiv virus multiplies in a person?, or how can doctors estimate how long is a peson going to live?
Response from Dr. Young
There aren't very practical ways to measure the rate of HIV infection in the typical person. The numbers that we quote about HIV replication rates were determined using very sophisticated and invasive monitoring methods in a clinical research laboratory.
Either way, the viral load in blood is an excellent estimate of the balance between the immune system and viral replication rate-- this "set point" is a very good metric of the rate of CD4 cell decline and provides a crude way of estimating survival in the absence of treatment.
The best estimate of survival really comes from access to adequate HIV care-- good access to care and medications is the best way to maximize survival. If all things go right, we speculate about several decades of survival for the treatment naive person with wild type (drug susceptible) virus.
Hope this answers your questions. BY
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