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extremely high viral load linked to early onset hiv?

May 25, 2011

I was diagnosed six months ago with hiv. My first labs were a cd4 of 256 with a viral load of nearly two million! Ive not heard of anyone with a viral load that high. My doctor seemed to think it could be the spike that is often seen with a recent infection but indicated that he had never seen a viral load that high! It concerns me that i may have an aggressive strain? Is this type of number common and is it common with a recent infection or something more longterm?

Response from Dr. Henry

Viral loads are often high very early after infection (your is high-I have seen up to 20 million copies/ml). If you were recently infected then viral load often will decrease and level off over the following 3 months (CD4 count may also rebound some). That CD4 count is worrisome-if confirmed should prompt discussion about starting antiretroviral therapy to protect your immune system and health. KH

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