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Viral Load accuracy
Jan 10, 2007

On November 2, 2006 I had unpotected oral/ vaginal intecourse with a woman who may have been a prostitute. I was intoxicated at the time, but I do remeber that the oral sex was aproximatly 5 min long and the vaginal penatration did not last for more than a minute.

After the encouter I started feeling ill. Lump in my throat, lost 20 lbs, constipation, mental confusion, hot flashes bilateral neck vains, and ensomnia.

I have been tested three times since the incident: November 10=negative, December 20th, antibody test=negative. And on January 9th I got my viral load results back= negative down to 50 copies.

My question is: How accurate is the viral load test in diagnosing HIV?

Thank you! You have kept me company in the wee hours of the night.

I will contribute to the cause.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I've kept you company in the wee hours of the night????? Oh gosh, don't tell me I'm sleep walking again. If I do show up tonight, please send my home before daylight, OK?

The appropriate screening test for HIV disease is the ELISA (or similar HIV-antibody test) at the three-month mark. Viral load tests are not recommended for routine screening, due to the rate of false-positives, technical considerations and cost. Specific types of PCR testing may be indicated in very specific situations to help diagnose primary HIV disease. This would not apply to your situation.

Your two negative HIV-antibody tests to date are encouraging, but not definitive or conclusive.

Since viral load testing is not recommended as a screening test for HIV, I can't really comment on its accuracy. Certainly your "negative down to 50 copies" result is what we would expect in someone who is HIV negative (or on potent anti-HIV medications).

Thanks for your donation (www.concertedeffort.org). In return, I'm sending my good-luck karma that your definitive three-month ELISA test will be negative (as I strongly suspect it indeed will be).

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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