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Does an undetectable viral load make you antibody negative?

Sep 27, 1999

If a HIV+ person using HAART and successfully get undetectable viral load for a long period (years) will he/she normally also turn negative on a standard antibody HIV test or will such a test be positive forever no matter the viral load. (Even if the person should turn negative this is naturally not the same as the person is free from the virus. If I understand it right even the ultra sensitive viral load test can not detect extremely small amount of virus, and the HIV virus can probably hide inside some cells for years and years. )

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. Regardless of a persons viral load, the HIV antibody tests will still remain positive. So even if a persons viral load is "below detectable levels", they will continue to show positive on the HIV antibody tests. In addition, if a persons viral load is "below detectable levels", they are still infected with HIV, and can still potentially infect others with the virus. An undetectable viral load merely means that the levels of HIV in the blood are very low (which is clinically good news for the patient).

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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