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RE-INFECTED
Dec 23, 2009

Dr. Young, I am HIV+ not yet on drugs, with CD4 in the range of 690. A couple of months ago I had sympthoms which were very similar to the acute infection of 4 years ago when I first learned my HIV+ status. At the same time, my CD4 came down to around 450. My doctor has screened me for everything and could not find any reason for that. Because the viral load has not changed in this whole period and remained in the range of 50.000, my doctors insists whatever I had has nothing to do with HIV. Since I did have unprotected sex, I am really in doubt. Do you believe a re-infection would have necessarily brought my viral load up so nothing to worry?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thank you for your post.

Superinfection with a second strain of HIV is fortunately rare, but a documented event.

While it's difficult to be absolutely sure, one would expect that if you were superinfected after your exposure, that you should experience new acute symptoms; at the very least,as you point out, your viral load should have increased.

Absent these findings, I don't think that there is significant risk here.

Remember though, that just because the risk of HIV superinfection is low, I'd hate to see my patients acquire new drug resistant HIV, or moreover, new hepatitis or other sexually transmitted infections.

Be safe out there, and happy holiday season.

BY



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