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Can "no viral load" for hemophiliac mean HIV+ antibodies aquired in transfusion
Sep 23, 2005

My boyfriend is a hemophiliac. He reports he has "no viral load." (A friend who is an HIV advocate says this is a poor term leading to a false sense of security, and the term to use more appropirately is "no detectable load"). Regardless of terminology, I have questions about this.

Is it possible that he aquired HIV+ status via HIV+ antibodies from another person from a transfusion or from his hemophilia treatments? Is it possible he was never exposed to HIV, but rather, just got the blood of someone else who was exposed?

He's over 40, which is rare for hemophiliacs as I understand it. He doesn't really like to talk about any of this, and I just wonder what I am dealing with, short term for my own health and longterm for his longevity and his health's impact on our relationship.

(He has an extensive vitamin regemen and is not on any kind of treatment for the HIV.)

Does this mean that he is infected or just had exposure (or as I suggested, maybe just the blood he was given had been exposed or infected.)

Thanks for any clarification or additional insight.

-Amanda

Response from Dr. Young

Amanda, thanks for your post.

It's unlikely that your boyfriend has persistently positive HIV+ antibodies just from receiving transfusions. It also likely indicates true infection rather than exposure. (Though a repeat HIV antibody test is generally what I do in situations like this one.)

If true, having an undetectable HIV viral load, while unusual, does occur in a lucky minority of patients. Such low viral loads usually predicts very slow, or non-progression of HIV disease.

I hope this helps, good luck to you and your boyfriend. BY



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