Jul 4, 2005
In a a recent question in which a patient asked if symptoms during the acute HIV stage were an indication of disease progression, you stated that symptoms are not an indication, however the severity of the symptoms are. Does this mean that someone who had a very short duration of symptoms (or no symptoms at all) in the acute stage has a lower likelihood of faster progression than someone who became severely sick during acute retroviral syndrome?
Response from Dr. Conway
That is probably true. Insomuch as the symptoms reflect unopposed viral replication, they indicate that someone was exposed to more virus, more pathogenic virus and/or virus that the person's imune system is less able to control. All of these things suggest that the setpoint of viral load will be higher and there will be a higher risk of disease progression more rapidly. In some cases, though, the symptoms may be due to the immune system reacting to the virus, and this would be a good thing in terms of more effective control of the virus.
You can certainly use the information about symptoms to discuss the possibilities about disease progression with a recently infected individual, but it would be most important to confirm this with data about that person's viral load and CD4 count from the 6 month point onwards, as, for that person, that is what will predict disease progression, acute symptoms or not. It is just that the presence of symptoms is what will help predict how likely they are to achieve a more or less favorable set point.
Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS
This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.
Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.