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PEP and low viral load
Sep 11, 2004

Dear Docs,

I had started pep after a high risk exposure. After completion of the course I decided to wait a few days and then get tested. About 3 days later I tested by Bdna/elisa combo. The elisa was negative but the bdna showed 988 copies. I was suffering from many symptoms such at the time so decided to start antiretrovirals again and have been on it ever since. My last elisa after 6 weeks of treatment is still negative and the bdna is <50 copies.

Please advise what I should do as I dont really know if I am positive or not?

Thanks,

Response from Dr. Pierone

There are two possibilities that come to mind. The most likely is that the bDNA test of 988 copies was a false positive result. The other possibility is that the course of PEP has suppressed, but not prevented acute HIV infection. If the latter is true, one would expect that the ELISA will turn positive on follow up testing. It seems that the way to sort this out is to stop antiretroviral therapy and see what happens. If you are not infected, the HIV bDNA and ELISA will stay negative. If you did acquire infection, the bDNA will become measurable and the ELISA will turn positive. Hope this helps and good luck.



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