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testing bdna undectable without antibodies
Feb 24, 2007

Hello Dr. Conway,

I was wondering if only after one week after acute retroviral infection symptoms go away you can have an undectable viral load and a negative antibody test result. I did this then had another undectable BDNA and antibody at 7 weeks after onset of illness. I still have tonsilitis and an ear infection that won't go away, but I also have a high CD4 low CD8 cell count. Can I most likely rule out HIV infection because of these tests (no antibodies, no viral load), or are there other factors I am missing? I am still very scared because of this antibiotic resistant ear infection and tonsilitis. I would greatly appreciate your opinion. Thank you Dr. I understand how busy you must be.

Response from Dr. Conway

You need to wait for the week 12 HIV antibody results, as these will definitively establish that you are not infected. This being said, your normal CD4 count, CD4/CD8 ratio, negative HIV viral load test result and negative HIV antibody test results to date make it virtually certain that you are not infected. I would caution us all that there are no "typical" symptoms of acute retroviral infection. What you are reporting with your tonsils and ears are much more likely to be viral or bacterial infections completely unrelated to HIV...

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