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Undetectable levels
Mar 2, 2009

I returned a HIV+ test when applying for an overseas residence visa. Turned out my CD count was down to 250 and viral load 37k. After 4 months on antivirals I was tested for reaction to drugs and my CD count is up to +500 and viral load undectable. Will I ever be able to pass a HIV test for visa requirements or should I never try to be tested again on the understanding that all HIV tests wiil be positive for the rest of my life. I am unclear on viral load/CD count and relationship to HIV testing

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

The HIV tests detect your body's antibodies directed against HIV, not the virus itself nor your CD4 level. As such, once HIV infected, your HIV antibodies remain positive for life- having an undetectable viral load does not alter the positivity of the test.

As to immigration requirements, this is an ongoing, and evolving public affairs issue and depends on the particulars of each country and type of visa. Know that several international organizations have issued statements regarding the elimination of HIV testing as a requirement for immigration (and the US is finally eliminating their requirement for visas).

I hope this helps, BY



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