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Just got viral load using <50
Aug 28, 2000

First, let me thank you for all of your assistance and advice, it is greatly appreciated. I tested poz in 10/99, initial numbers 292 CD4 at 21% and 100,000 viral load. Started Meds 12/03/99, numbers, 01/03/00: 690VL, 494cd4/22%, 02/03/00: <400VL(undetectable) and 420cd4/21%, 05/03/00: <400VL and 390cd4/22%. August 3rd I went to have my blood work done and it was decided to use the ultra-sensitive viral load test that measures down to <50. Well today I got my numbers.... 636cd4/23% and 233 Viral Load. My doc was on hospital rounds and the only person I could talk to was the nurse who kept assuring me that this was undetectable because it was below 400 and I tried to explain to her that it was not undetectable using the ultra sensitive test and that my goal was to below 50. My doc will be out next week therefore, I will not be able to discuss this with him until later. Am I over-reacting or should I have been below 50 by now? I have been on viracept, zerit and epivir for 8 months. My heart sunk when the nurse gave the viral load. I was certain I would be below 50. I have been very compliant with my meds. I have never missed a dose and have only been late but maybe three times and never over an hour. By the way my initial resistance test showed not resistance to any of the drugs. Do you think I need to add something to my current combo... is this one destined to fail me.....somewhat distressed in Atlanta...... Thanks for your advice/comments

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I never make any decisions about changing/adding meds with one viral load result. Your CD4 number and percentage still looks great. You are correct -- 50 copies is the current benchmark. I would have expected your viral load to be <50 by now. Some people do take up to 6 months, 8 months is getting a little on the long side. I would repeat the viral load in a month. If you are still > 50, you need to discuss what the options are with your MD. Unfortunately, viral loads < 1,000 are not readily genotyped for resistance testing.

MH


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