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understanding undetected?
Aug 26, 2005

When I was first tested In apirl I was VL: 13000 CD4:233. I was given Viracept 625mg and combivir for meds.

I just got my second results yesturday(Aug 25th). My doctor said that I was undetected. My CD4 were 433. He they didn't count my Viral Load because it was undetected. I have one refill lefted for meds. He schedule me to see him again on Dec 5. He just told that they stop counting when VL is under a certain number(400). Can you explain undetection to me because I don't quiet understand? What does this mean for the future for me?

Response from Dr. Wohl

The tests that measures HIV in the blood are called the viral load tests. The tests can count how many copies of HIV there is in a drop of blood. But, the tests have limits. The test you had can not count more than 750,000 copies of HIV in the blood or less than 400 copies. Below 400 copies, there are too few copies of HIV for this test to be able to reliably count. Think of a needle in a haystack. If you have 20,000 needles in the haystack you will find many if you search. But if there are 200 needles placed within the pile of hay, you may not find any.

When the test results indicate 'undetectable' it means the virus level was so low that the test could not count it (that is the virus is still there but are hard to find). This is good news and means your medication is working. Less virus means more T-cells which means less risk of HIV related problems.

Your job is to take the medication everyday as directed and not miss doses. Pay attention to the food requirements of your medication and take care of your body. You are off to a good start.

DW



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