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re: local HIV infection
Aug 17, 2004

No, actually YOU are incorrect. This woman had a positive antibody result, yet an undetectable viral load, which didn't make sense to anyone because she was symptomatic with vaginal yeast infections which sprung up shortly after her exposure. She actually had vaginal tissue biopsied and was found to have a high level of HIV DNA in her vaginal tissue.

I guess this is an example of critical info that has not yet reached some medical professionals.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Sorry, but I'm afraid you are still confused about what the various HIV-related tests mean and the limitations of some of the available tests.

First off, let me reiterate that there is no such thing as local HIV infection. If the person you are referring to had a positive HIV antibody test, they are HIV positive, whether or not they have a detectable HIV viral load in their blood. Viral load testing has limitations, including the level of viral replication various tests can even detect. Some measure down to 400 copies; others, down to 25-50 copies. "Undetectable" doesn't mean the virus isn't there; it just means the level of replication is too low to be detected by our current testing techniques.

As for this situation (positive antibody, but undetectable viral load) not making sense to anyone, I can understand why it may not make sense to you, but I can assure you this is not new "critical info that has not yet reached medical professionals." In fact it doesn't even qualify as "old news".

By the way, are you always so opinionated in matters in which you obviously have limited expertise?

The Body does have a forum dedicated to understanding lab results that you might find informative. Then again, you might not believe them either.

Dr. Bob



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