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viral load is against FDA approval and Kary Mullis
Apr 6, 2005

Kary Mullis who discovered PCR chain for use in the viral load, says that this cannot be used for HIV. Why is it used when the inventor of the process is a member of the Society for the Reappraisal of HIV/AIDS? The FDA also does not currenlty approve Viral Load as a useful test. So why is it being used?

Response from Dr. Wohl

As far as FDA approval of the test itself, check out

- a list of FDA approved HIV tests. Viral load testing is indeed there.

The tests are used mostly for the monitoring of HIV treatment and as factor in establishing a patient's prognosis. Who can doubt the validity of this test for these purposes? Take someone with HIV infection, check viral load, prescribe meds, watch viral load drop. This is an important clinical test.

The use of the test to detect acute HIV infection had been more controversial at first but experience with the assay and its interpretation has made this test extremely useful in detecting HIV infection prior to the emergence of HIV antibodies. A program in NC where a type of viral load testing is performed on blood specimens from those being tested for HIV antibodies has identified scores of individuals with acute HIV infection - people who would have otherwise received a negative HIV antibody test.

It is striking that there are denialist for everything from the Holocaust, to 9/11, to HIV. On the one hand it demonstrates the freedom we have to express ourselves (even at the expense of our own credibility). On the other, it shows that there are, and likely always will be, those whose cynicism and paranoia blind them to life's evident truths.


Undetectable: Would an HIV Test Be Negative Now?
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