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Roller-Coaster viral load?

Apr 20, 2009

Hi, First, many thanks to you & your collegues for all the valuable info & funny remarks. Now my question; I have been poz for about 7 years, no meds. My T-cell count has never dipped below 850. But my viral is what confuses me. It has always been in the 3,000 range till about 6 months ago. I got a reading of about 36,000 viral...6 months ago! Now my current results, t-cell is same but viral is now back down to the 4-digit range. I know tcell count tends to go up & down, but does viral?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Yes, the plasma HIV viral load can spike upwards transiently for a variety of reasons, including an intercurrent infection (common cold, flu, sinus infection, etc.), vaccination (flu shot, etc.), medication nonadherence, etc. It's best to look for trends over time and not worry too much about transient blips. If the viral load goes up and stays up, that's another story. That could mean the development of drug resistance and signal the need for a change in regimen.

Dr. Bob

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