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Viral load up from undetectable....
Jul 19, 2001

Thanks for answerng this question. I have been on HAART for 11 months, Epivir, Ziagen and Sustiva and became undetectabe within two months of beginning thrapy from a viral load of 60,000. My last results showed an increase from under 50 to 173 copies, however my T-cells improved in the same 3 month span by 54. Should I be worried since this is a more than threefold jump or should I relax and wait for my next results in 3 months? AP

Response from Dr. Little

I would probably wait for your next set of test results in 3 months. I agree that any viral load above 50 in someone who has previously been below 50 is the cause for some concern. However, if you immediately drop drugs in your current regimen because of a fear that you are detecting the first sign of failure, you may work your way through many of our available drugs without really knowing if you have drug resistance. Unfortunately, no drug resitance test will consistently give you a result with a viral load this low. I would however, be particularly attentive to not missing any doses between now and your next viral load measure. With regard to the CD4 cell increase, the CD4 cell counts typically lag about 8-12 weeks after the viral load test results. So, when someone really does fail and the viral load starts to go up, it may take a month or two before you start to see the CD4 cell count take the expected dip.

How long?

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