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Actual viral load while undetectable on Atripla
Aug 20, 2009

I have been on Atripla treatment for the past 10 months. For the past 9 months my viral load has been undectable. When i tested positive my viral load was 2,400 copies per ml of blood. My question is if i am undetectable, is there any way to ascertain what my viral load actually is? I know that viral load tests do not register viral loads under 50 copies per ml of blood. Could the viral load ever be "0" ? And does having a viral load of below 50 copies per/ml of blood still have any negative consequences to the body? Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Henry

In most case if a person on effective HAART with a plasma HIV RNA level < 50 has an ultrasensitive assay performed (often requires lots of blood ie > 100 cc) then a level of 1-5 copies is often noted. A very low viral load is a good thing but there likely is still some degree of immune activation going on which could cause some problems (such as increased risk for heart disease or cancer) though much less than if not on treatment. That is a hot area for research at the moment. KH



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