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What should I expect when I am finally off meds?
Oct 9, 2003

Dr. Wohl: My viral load for 300,000 when I was diagnosed, Dr. believes that I was recently infected. I didn't get the results of the CD4 count b/c somehow the lab screwed up and compromised the test. However, when they took it again it was 850. Does this still mean that when I stop meds in 1 year that my viral load will shoot up to 300,000 again? my cd4 is 1030 right now on meds for 3 months and viral load only 350 and going down. My doctor said that I should be able to stay off meds for many many years. But by your recent answer you suspect my viral load will go back up and my cd's will drop dramatically. Is this correct? I am hoping to be med free for a long while when I am taken off this short term treatment.

Response from Dr. Wohl

During acute HIV infection, the viral load is a moving target. It shoots up right after infection and then drops to some set point. When during this process your viral load was measured will indicate what will happen when you stop meds.

IF you had reached your set point, then when you stop meds your viral load will most likely return to about that level.

IF it was measured during the peak or soon after, then your set point may be much lower.

Even if your level tends to be 300,000, your doc may be correct - it could take years for the CD4 to fall to less than 350 or so. DW



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