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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
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DUDE - the "hiding" issue?
      #5262 - 06/10/00 02:50 PM

DUDE and others -
Someone raised the question of HIV's ability to "hide" in lymph nodes. I've seen other questions on some of the boards about this issue. What is the bottom line here? Can HIV hide. If yes, what are the implications for testing??? If it "hides" in the lymph nodes, does that mean it is not replicating throughout the bloodstream??? Does the body know it's there?? Or is the body tricked and therefore not producing antibodies????



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Anonymous
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Re: DUDE - the "hiding" issue? new
      #5264 - 06/10/00 04:40 PM

Hiding means that it's not traveling in the bloodstream in sufficient quantities to be detectable on the viral load tests, i.e., < 50 copies or 400 copies/ml. . . . . .You will still test positive on an Elisa test in this case, just as lots of HIV-positive people do whose meds keep their viral load undetectable.

It's called hiding because at one point the theory was that you could knock it out of the system completely if you got the viral load low enough. we know now that's not possible.

don't worry about these kinds of contingencies. they are not possible.



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Anonymous
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Re: DUDE - the "hiding" issue? new
      #5268 - 06/10/00 04:54 PM

Agreed...furthermore, it would be very, very unlikely for someone to have a viral load of less than 50 copies/ml without some sort of antiretroviral therapy, so I don't think the hiding issue should concern anyone who wants to take a PCR test for diagnosis. It is possible that someone could have a good enough immune response to HIV infection that the viral load would be undetectable without medication. But then, this person would DEFINITELY have produced antibodies by this time. After all, something would have had to lower the viral load! It would be the body's natural defences (antibodies) in this case.



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BDG
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Re: DUDE - the "hiding" issue? new
      #5296 - 06/10/00 10:50 PM

Exactly! I just posted the following below, but it's relevant here too.

This whole "hiding" thing doesn't have anything to do with the detection of infection. It has to do with the recent (relatively speaking) discovery that HIV cannot be easily eradicated from an infected individual's bloodstream. Originally, doctors believed that agressive therapy after an individual was infected may be able to slow down HIV replication to the point that there would be no virus left in the patient's bloodstream. The idea behind it was to stop HIV from replicating (what the current medications do) and let the HIV particles that are already in the bloodstream die "a natural death" (even the virus has a lifespan). However, doctors found out that even though you could get medications to stop HIV from replicating to the point that it was no longer detectable in the bloodstream, resting CD4 cells in the lymphatic tissue of the infected individual were not being reached by the medications. So, when the medications were stopped, these CD4 cells would start replicating more copies of the virus again (once they were activated for whatever reason - i.e. a simple cold virus or something).

So in summary, this "hiding" issue doesn't have anything to do with HIV testing. It has more to do with the theory of eradicating the virus from the body.




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