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Confused status
Dec 17, 2012

Dear dr. I am confuse about my results as below Cd4 - 1090 Cd4% 27.9 This I where I am confused PVL 100 but on the bottom it says ( The Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor Test 1.5 assay has a lower detection limit of 400 copies/ml) does this mean that my viral load is undetectable. And I am even more confused wen it says my HIV report is negative. I am actually confused about my PVL report. What does that 100 mean when lowest detection point is 400. Am I infected. Or does that 100 is undetectable.

Response from Dr. McGowan

These results do NOT indicate HIV infection.

A negative HIV screening test, with a normal CD4 count and a viral load below the detectable limit are all consistent with no HIV infection.

If a person were in the early phase of acute HIV infection, the results would indicate a negative HIV test with a very, very high viral load. The viral load at "seroconversion" is extremely high.

The viral load test is generally not recommended for routine HIV screening because it can give inaccurate results at a low level. When the lab interprets the results of a test it looks at the reactivity of the blood sample. This is usually measured by some signal (such as the test giving off tiny bits of light) that is picked up by a machine. A high level of light being released is clearly positive. Sometimes there is non-specific "noise" (small bits of light coming from the test tube which are not high enough to be measured as a positive result) on the test. The report can give a low number, such as 100, even though the test is only set up to measure above 400. So it is a negative test, but they wanted to let the doctor know that there may be some interference from substances in your blood. This does not mean that HIV is in the blood. The test is not valid to interpret such low numbers. Since we are not expecting such a low level of virus during an acute (very early) infection with HIV, as I mentioned above, this result is not consistent with having HIV infection.

Hope this helps.

Joe



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