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Undetectable
Apr 27, 2006

I have an ex who was tested for HIV 8yrs ago and test came back positive for the virus. He has been taking anti-hiv medicines the whole time. Now he claims he went to another state and was tested and results now negative. Is it possible that the medication can cause the virus to be undetected?

Response from Dr. Sherer

This is easily and commonly misunderstood.

Once a person is infected with HIV, they are infected for life. There are no documented cases of people who are 'cured' of having HIV infection, including your ex.

On the other hand, when a person has a successful outcome with HIV medication, he or she can become 'undetectable', which simply means that the level of virus in the blood is below the ability of our blood test to detect it. It is NOT gone; HIV is still living in such people, and they are able to transmit the virus, even when the level of HIV in the blood is below detection. If that person stops their medication, or the medication is no longer effective due to drug resistance, the virus will again become detectable in the blood. And throughout the time of HIV infection, the HIV antibody test will remain positive, with few exceptions that are related to the way the test is done, and NOT to 'cure' of the virus.

Got it? Once infected, ALWAYS infected. Undectectable means the best possible outcome with HIV medication, but it does NOT mean that the virus is gone.


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