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Early blip a concern?

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texashouston1:
Hi everyone,

I have been lucky to find this forum. Honestly reading everyone's experience and learning we all go over the same issues and questions gives me some piece of mind.

One of those issues is that I started my treatment early December 2020, with a VL baseline of 400,000. VL went down to 500 two weeks after treatment, and after my first covid vaccine (Moderna) in April the test was >20 (UD).

However, doctor asked me to have labs again after two weeks from second covid vaccine shot, and VL came up as 50. Is that considered a blip, even so early after initiating treatment?

Thanks!

Jim Allen:
Hiya,

Glad to hear that you have started treatment and the labs are doing well.
How are you otherwise feeling/doing?

Regarding the 50 copies, it's not even a blip yet and you are in the first 6 months of treatment. I presume you were also newly diagnosed when you started treatment back in Dec?

Now, minor blips can happen for various reasons. However, I would not even think twice about this had it been my own results unless it was a continuously increasing trend over time and in the high hundreds to low thousands.

There is also strong evidence that as ART takes care of the active viral load some transient blips are nothing more than the detection of the low-level release of virus from existing reservoirs, including defective copies and that those who blip more often tend to have larger HIV reservoirs and hence it's not a concern for with the treatment etc.

See link for "What’s All This Fuss I Hear About Viral “Blips”?

Treatment wise, it's still generally accepted anything under 50 copies is fully suppressed (UD) so keep taking your meds correctly and this micro blip should be gone the next time you test.

Blips
What’s All This Fuss I Hear About Viral “Blips”?
https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/70/12/2710/5573119

http://i-base.info/guides/changing/viral-load-blips

Viral Blips Don't Raise the Risk of HIV Treatment Failure
https://www.poz.com/article/viral-blips-raise-risk-hiv-treatment-failure

http://www.aidsmap.com/Spanish-study-gives-reassurance-small-HIV-blips-do-not-predict-treatment-failure/page/3085173/

Q&A on persistent low-level viremia.
https://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/hiv-aids/news/online/%7B8373ca63-674d-4015-ac35-f4da653c7415%7D/qa-understanding-persistent-low-level-viremia-in-people-with-hiv

texashouston1:
Thanks Jim!

And yes, I was newly diagnosed on November 24th 2020.

I am feeling really good so far. It felt really good seeing my first UD result mid April but this VL 50 result made me a bit anxious. I guess I am just being inpatient  :)

Thanks again

Almost2late:
I also found this link on blips..
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915053/#:~:text=Viral%20blips%20are%20defined%20as,time%20period%20of%20six%20weeks.

I was diagnosed in 2014 and it took me over 6 months for my viral load to go from 230,000 to 110.
For the first 3 years I would jump from an UD viral load to something under 200 while on triumeq, I felt like a yo-yo. But since 2017, I have not seen a blip and still on the same medication.

Not insinuating that this will happen to you, I had the virus for over 10 years before the aids diagnosis.. just saying you are doing well and one blip, especially in the beginning of treatment, is nothing to over worry about.

Your doctor is keeping an eye on your viral load "just in case", but if you're adherent to your treatment chances are that the blip is nothing but a blip.

It's like turning off a water faucet.. it drips a little bit before it totally dries up  ;)
 

Mightysure:
Hi Texas,

It isn't technically a blip. Back in 2014 when I was diagnosed, 50 was the cut off for UD.

Not sure why your doctor wanted labs so soon after your vaccine shot, but you were in the window when your body is still making antibodies for Covid.

So it is probably like Jim said, just your immune system shedding some of your reservoir and the test is picking on that.

I wouldn't be too concerned at this point.

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