Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Questions About Treatment & Side Effects

Ok, I have a different question...

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randym431:
Was just wondering, if you are "undetectable" and went to have an hiv test, would you show as + or - ?

The basic hiv test that a clinic might do or the county health dept might do, would that test be sensitive enough to test you as + if you were undetectable <50 ?

I was just wondering. We all love to hear those words undetectable and we can imagine the virus is like sleeping and harmless (even though it does hide out waiting...)
But if one went and got an actual hiv test and you still tested +, while on meds and undetectable, to me that would be a little un nerving to actually see that result. It would sure wake one up to the fact the virus is still present and doing "something".

How undetectable is "undetectable"? (as to your immune system continuing to be damaged to some point)

I know, I shouldn't think about these things...    :-\

Ann:
Hi Randy,

The tests that determine your hiv status and the tests that tell whether or not you are undetectable are two totally different kettles of fish.

The test that determines whether you are hiv positive or hiv negative are antibody tests. They do not detect the virus itself, but rather the antibodies your body produces in response to hiv infection. Once you have hiv, you will always test positive on the antibody tests, no matter what your viral load is.

The viral load tests detect the actual virus in your blood, but they do not tell us anything about the virus that may be in your lymph system or other areas outside your blood.

You might want to read through the HIV Testing Lesson for further clarification on antibody tests vs viral load (PCR) tests.

Ann

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