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RE:how long have I been affected
Jun 8, 2003

I know that there is no way to find out how long I have been affected, but how long can I look forward to and how long can i stay off meds. also, when i got my lab work back, i tested negative for hiv-1 antigen! what does that mean?? (my cd 4 count is 667 and my viral load is 654

Response from Dr. Young

It is difficult, if not impossible to accurately predict when someone was infected with HIV (save for those who are acutely infected).

A negative HIV antigen in your situation (positive antibody and viral load) probably is reflective of your very low viral load and the lower limit of detection of the antigen test. That is to say that the amount of virus circulating in your blood is too low for the relatively insensitve antigen test to pick it up.

Nevertheless, it would seem that your viral load (set point) is very, very low, and therefore the likelihood that your CD4 cells will decline significantly in the near future is very low. Stated another way, I'd suspect that it will be a number of years, well over 5, maybe a lot longer until you'd be having a discussion about medications. Indeed, many persons with viral loads less than 1000 copies (off treatment) will have very slow (or non-) disease progression. BY



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