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A Strange Case
Feb 22, 2004

I have written here before and love you site. I hope that you can answer a similar question. I have been HIV+ for a little over one year. CD4 is 1200 and VL has always been undectable. I have never been sick and I have never been on meds. Recently my ID Dr. sent me to a major research hospital. The Dr there drew blood for research saying that I was one of 10 people in their HIV/AIDS Program that was like this. That I could/am possibly a long term non progressors. He got into explaining our my cells could be different, that I could have something with in my blood that fights the HIV virus. I was exactly sure of what he was trying to say. Do you have any suggestions to help understanding why EVERYONE calls me "a strange HIV case"?

Response from Dr. Wohl

If you graph the viral loads of 1000 people with HIV with the viral load on the vertical axis it would look like a camel hump (dromedary camel - one hump). Most will have a viral load that settles somewhere in the middle of the extremes (i.e. between 1000 and 750,000). But at the tails of the hump on each side there are those with either very high or very low virus levels. You, and maybe 5% of HIV+ folk, are in the very low tail.

This is good, as you have undoubtedly heard. It means your chance of having your CD4 cell count drop in the future is low. Why are you like this? No one knows. Some ideas can be found at http://www.thebody.com/treat/nonprog.html

These include mostly genetic factors although there may also be factors related to the virus you were infected with. So, really you are not so strange as you are fortunate.

There clearly needs to be more work done to try and figure it out and part of that will be by taking your blood. Thanks.

DW



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