Viral load and body fluids
Nov 5, 1996
Dr. Gallant - Blessings to you! Can you tell me the effect of viral load on body fluids other than blood? I have a very low CD4 count (recently up to 94 from 12), have been positive for almost six years, and have a very low viral load (due to AZT 3TC combo). I am a woman and I have a female lover who is HIV negative - I'm wondering if my low viral load translates to a low amount of virus in my vaginal/cervical secretions? Would this make HIV transmission less risky? Thank you.
Response from Dr. Gallant
While not every bodily fluid has been studied in this way, we do know that there is a correlation between plasma viral load and the amount of virus in some bodily fluids. We also know that people with high viral loads are more infectious (they transmit HIV more easily) than people with low viral loads. However, it is not possible to say that with a very low or undetectable viral load, you would not be able to transmit HIV to another person-- it would just be less likely.
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