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High Viral Load...??? Please help explain

Jul 18, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob,

I have tested 5 times on the ELISA antibody test due to an finding out my EX boyfriend tested HIV positive last year... I tested 3,5,8, 11.5 and 18 MONTHS after my last exposure to him.

My questgion for you is I finally decided to stop testing and take a viral test to be 100% sure I wasn't infected. My results came back <48 copies. my Dr. assured me that this result is negative or "undetectable". But as I research and read more about viral load tests it says 50 or more copies means you are infected with HIV. with my viral load being so high in the 40's range could it be that I'm infected?!!! I'm so afraid and confused...

Please help me sort this out, Dr. Bob...

Thank you very very much

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your repeatedly negative HIV ELISA tests out to 18 months are definitive, conclusive and excessive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No additional HIV-related tests were warranted.

Your HIV RNA plasma viral load test was not warranted and the result "less than 48 copies" is undetectable ("negative"). The "48 copies" is the lower limit of detection for the testing assay you had performed. Your results indicate your value was "less than 48." That means below the lowest level of detection! Your HIV viral load is not "very high." In fact it's nonexistent. (A viral load in the millions would be "very high.")

You can read more about HIV diagnostic tests (ELISA) and monitoring tests (viral) in the archives.

Hopefully this has sorted out your confusion and ended your worries. The bottom line is that you are HIV negative. Period. End of story.

Dr. Bob

You are my only hope
HIV risk from handjob on penis with genital sores present

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