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Undetected for how long?
Nov 24, 2003

I'm just curious, some people can be on medication to the extent the virus becomes undetectable. What happens here? Where do the virus go? If they are destroyed how come not all of them can be destroyed? And for how long can they stay that way? I mean if a person can live with undetected virus with consistent medication then he/she is pretty much like HIV-

Response from Dr. Wohl

Ah, here in lies the rub:

HIV therapy is basically birth control for the virus - it prevents HIV from making more of itself. In some cells the virus is not replicating. These cells are themselves slow to replicate and HIV uses cells that are active to make more of itself. Therefore, HIV medications have no effect against virus in these silently infected cells and these cells which can be found in many parts of the body, lymph nodes and blood, can serve as a reservoir for future bursts of virus. Clean out these ltently infected cells and you cure HIV and get the Nobel Prize. DW



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