The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


Sep 6, 2008

Are frequent blips in VL (under 2000) common? I've had about 4 now after 6 years of being undectable. Wondering why this occurs as I am very adherent to taking my meds. Thanks fo your help.

Response from Dr. Frascino


It's a bit difficult to give specific advice on "blips," because different folks define them differently. For instance, if your blips approach 2,000, that's fairly high. Most are in the hundreds. In general, a blip is a very transient rise in HIV plasma viral load from undetectable to low-detectable levels, which returns to undetectable levels quickly (within weeks). There are different theories as to the cause of blips, including:

1. release of virus from reservoirs or protected sanctuaries in the body where replication of drug-sensitive virus continues at a low level;

2. drug-resistant virus;

3. Immunological events, such as a concurrent infection or vaccination, which suddenly increase the number of infection-susceptible immune cells and result in a viral feeding frenzy. This subsequently causes a transient blip; and

4. variations in drug levels in a person hovering on the margins of total viral suppression.

Whatever the cause, most studies have suggested that there is no association between blips and loss of virologic control or disease progression. That said, if indeed you are blipping over 1,000 copies/ml, I'd suggest you get a resistance test (genotype/phenotype) at the time of your next blip, as you've now had four blips following a six-year period of being undetectable. The resistance test will let you know if you've developed any resistance to your current drug regimen.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

GF attacked and scratched, tested -ve, can I also be -ve?

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint