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What would be consider a high viral load?
Sep 16, 1996

In June my cousins viral load was 60,000. In July it rose to 84,000. Then in August it reached an altime high of 170,000, after she began taking protease-inhibitors. What will her viral load be at around the time she will die?

Response from Dr. Cohen

All of the viral load measurements you mentioned would be considered high. I have discussed the meaning and interpretation of these numbers in the answer to another recent question [Priscilla-- do you know which one I am referring to-- I don't]. There is really no answer to your second question. People with advanced AIDS usually have high viral loads (often several hundred thousand or over one million), but there is no number at which you can say that death is imminent, nor is there a viral load low enough that it makes death impossible. Much depends on the CD4 count, the other medications being given (especially medications that prevent opportunistic infections), as well as individual characteristics that are hard to define.

I can't comment on whether anything can be done to bring your cousin's viral load down, since I don't have any details on her therapy, but obviously that would be a reasonable goal.



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