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Questions on viral rreplication
May 30, 2004

Hi Dr. :

I know the current aids meds can't completely stop all the viral replication in someon'es body. But does the meds actually kill a lot of the HIV?

And if the virus is still replicating why does a viral load show up as undetectable?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

HIV therapies don't actually kill the virus, but rather prevent the virus from replicating and infected new CD4 cells.

Because infected cells can still produce virus, very low level viral production can be detected in some persons. We call a viral load as undetectable when the test fails to pick up any signal-- this does not necessarily mean that there is no virus, but simply that the test isn't sensitive enough to find it. Another way of looking at is, the blood test typically analyzes 1 cc of blood. There are over 4000 cc's of blood in the body.

Hope this helps to answer your question. BY



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