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Viral load after vaccinations
Dec 8, 2008

I was diagnosed recently after a hospital stay the middle of Oct. for a virus of unknown origin, high fever etc. The initial PCR load test from the hopital stay was over 1 million. I had another test which confirmed infection but the results of the viral load are not in yet. This is all after having no idea how I got infected in the first place (heterosexual male.) My question is that I read that a viral load test should not be done when ill, or after any vaccines. About a week before I got sick and went to the hospital I had 3 vaccines, Typhoid,Hepatitus A, and Tetanus. Could the load results be wrong because of this, or is possible I am not infected at all???

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. I'll make several points while responding to your specific questions:

1. All HIV-screening tests should be confirmed to rule out false positives as well as lab/technical error.

2. If you are recently infected, it is not at all uncommon to have sky high HIV plasma viral loads. Your hospitalization for "high fever, etc." may well have been HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). That in and of itself is enough to explain the high HIV plasma viral load.

3. Vaccines or concurrent illnesses can cause a transient spike in HIV plasma viral loads.

4. As for "having no idea how I got infected in the first place (heterosexual male)", please note being heterosexual does not provide immunity to HIV/AIDS. The vast majority of the world's HIV/AIDS-infected individuals is straight and contracted the virus via unprotected heterosexual sex. Have you had unprotected sex? The other common modes of transmission include sharing intravenous drug paraphernalia, mother-to-child transmission during birth or breast feeding and, much more rarely, receiving a transfusion with HIV-tainted blood.

5. If indeed you are HIV infected, you should establish care with an HIV physician specialist. He will help evaluate your potential HIV-acquisition risks as well as continue to evaluate and manage your illness.

Good luck,

Dr. Bob



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