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VL increase first time!!
Apr 2, 2005

Hi, FIRST I love your website! Hats off to all of you here!

Second. I have been HIV+ since Nov. 2002. I have never been sick, not even a sniffle! Never been on meds. VL always undectable and CD4 always over 1000. Today my VL came back at 62. My doctor has always thought of me as long term non-progressor. I'm also in a major research program where I even have the Drs there baffled, because when they did a test the amount of actual HIV in my blood per cell, was so minimal, that he thought it was a mistake. But now today hearing that my actual VL was detectable, I'm freaked out! I even took a XANEX to calm my nerves. Should I be worried. My doctor thinks maybe it was just a fluke thing and wants to repeat the test.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

Worry not.. a single viral load test that's detectable doesn't mean that you'll become a rapid progressor (or have even an average rate of CD4 progression).

There are substantial studies that show that viral load blips (increases, followed by undetectability) are frequently associated with laboratory error or by minor activations of the immune system, such as infections or vaccinations.

I'd vote with your doctor and simply repeat the test in a few weeks. Even if the test returns with a positive result, this still does not mean that you couldn't continue to be a long-term non-progressor. Indeed, I know of several patients who have low-level detectable viral loads (in the 100's) who also appear to have very little or very slow disease progression.

Your feelings of apprehension are understandable, but the best solution probably isn't to take another Xanax, but rather to find resolution by the non-speculative facts in a repeat test.

Good luck, let us know how things turn out. BY


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