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antibodies
Jul 7, 2004

is it possible to have herpes and be false-positive for hiv?? i was diagnosed with grade 3 nhl **viral load was only 40k considering i had cancer. also does cancer affect viral load, t-cells, certain antibodies??? i have just read that false-positives happens with herpes. i just do not get the whole antibody thing. i did test positive for hiv. between contraction time of herpes/hiv and the nhl diagnosis was 13yrs. also married 12yrs and my spouse is negative. i just want to understand and my doc says that i am an unusual case. as you know its tiring to try and understand this. please help.

Response from Dr. Lee

Sometimes things that happen do not make perfect sense to us, and certainly it is very hard to understand how any bad diagnoses can be true.

I am understanding you to say that you have three diagnoses: 1) Grade 3 non-hodgkins lymphoma, 2) Herpes and 3) HIV. You are questioning the diagnosis of HIV because of the other diagnoses and wonder if it is incorrect. You had a positive (antibody) test for HIV and a viral load of "only" 40,000.

With a positive antibody and a positive viral load, there is no doubt that you are infected with HIV. In fact the HIV immune dysfunction probably increased your risk of developing NHL. A viral load of 40,000 is not very low. In fact, based upon data from Dr. Mellors published in 1996 using "natural history" information about HIV viral levels, 40,000 was above the cutoff for the top quartile of patients (indicating a reduced estimated survival). In lay terms, that means the viral level of 40,000 was in the highest risk 25% for progression of disease.

You seem to also be questioning your diagnosis because your spouse is not infected. That is lucky but does not really tell much about your situation.

Ask your doctor to comment on your specific questions. I hope you can be comfortable enough with the diagnoses to continue treatments that are recommended.

Be well.


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