Main Forums > Someone I Care About Has HIV

17 years infected and virus load untraceable

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rgomez:
My partner got infected 17years ago when she was 13yrs old via a blood transfusion...she did a test a year ago and tested poz for hiv and hepB but with a untracable viral load and a cd4 count of 240.

She has never had any major sickness and feels and looks perfectly fine even though she has not yet started any medical treatent as yet

How is this possible? Shouldnt her viral load have been through the roof?

 I also should mention that she had her spleen removed since she was 13 when she was hospitalized for a rare blood disorder.

Ann:
Hi Gomez, welcome to the forums.

It sounds like your partner is what's called a long-term non-progressor (LTNP for short). Some people have a gene that enables them to control hiv on their own. People who have an undetectable (undetectable, not untraceable) viral load are sometimes called elite controllers. Sometimes these people will eventually experience problems, such as a decline in CD4 cells.

Is your partner being regularly monitored? If she's not, she should be. Her CD4 count is quite low and she may benefit from starting  meds.

rgomez:
Hi Ann,

Thanks for the response. I have suspected that she may be an elite controller.

She currently is trying ayurveda to help increase her CD4 count and we can only tell if its helping in the long run.

She would like to avoid conventional medication as long as possible though.

Ann:
What does her doctor say? You didn't answer my question about whether or not she's being regularly monitored. She should also have that hep B looked into. Does she know if it's a chronic infection, or has she only had the test that will indicate whether she's ever had it, but not the further tests that will show whether she cleared it or if it's chronic?

If she has a chronic infection there are effective meds to keep it under control. Something like an untreated, chronic hep B infection can be contributing to her low CD4 counts. Those low CD4 counts are worrying - but it doesn't sound as though she's particularly worried. 

She needs to understand that the only thing proven to fight hiv infection is hiv meds. Just because she's undetectable in her blood doesn't mean that she isn't having replication going on in the reservoirs.

Something is going on to lower her CD4 counts and all the ayurveda in the world isn't going to change that. If stuff like that worked, we'd all be doing it. There's a reason we're not.

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