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Viral fitness and replication capacity
Sep 25, 2004

what's replication capacity and how can this be tested? Has this become an important part of HIV care? Can you explain. I have been infected with HIV for 15 years and have been on many regimens. Would it be helpful for my doctor and me to have this test? Is it being used by many doctors nowadays?

Response from Dr. Conway

Relication capacity is a test used for research purposes and available from ViroLogics in San Francisco. To my knowledge, it can only be ordered as part of a research protocol.

The test compares the ability of the virus you are carrying to replicate in the laboratory as compared to a standard virus. If your virus replicates more slowly, it is said to have a reduced replication capacity. All other things being equal, this has been associated with a better response to therapy or a slower decrease in CD4 counts off therapy (at least in some studies).

For an individual person such as yourself, it is not clear at this time how knowing your replication capacity would help us to make better decisions about how to take care of you. However, if you are that interested, I would encourage you to seek out a study for which you might be eligible that would include a measure of replication capacity.



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