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why undetectable without meds?
Oct 22, 2006

Hi Doc,

My question is why some people that were tested for HIV with Positive results are undetectable without taking meds?

I know someone that since he was found out to be HIV Poz has been undetectable?

is he really infected or his body got rid of the virus?

what test does he have to do to make sure he doesn't have the virus?

Response from Dr. Sherer

Following the first three months of acute HIV infection, the plasma viral load achieves a 'set point'. This number, as well as the initial CD4 cell count, has been shown to predict the likelihhod that a person with HIV will ultimately develop an opportunistic infection. The lower the viral load, and the higher the CD4 cell count, the longer the period of time before that person develops AIDS, and the lower the risk of death within 10 years.

In a small percentage of patients, the viral load set point is below the level of detection. We don't know why this happens in some people and not in others. It is likely that the factors the viral set point include the strength of the immune response, host genetic factors, and viral factors.

These individuals, like the person you know, will still test positively for HIV antibody, and they still have the virus in their body. They can also still transmit the virus to others by the usual means. You and your fried should talk to his doctor about his status and what to expect over time.


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