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Author Topic: Undectable....Real or not?  (Read 1918 times)

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Offline tigger2376

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  • too bad to die youngish!
Undectable....Real or not?
« on: August 31, 2007, 10:47:08 PM »
Please do tell me if I'm wrong but have the blood tests done in hospitals not changed for a significant amount of time? Are they truly accurate? And with all the money thats going into research, why are the viral load/cd4 tests still relatively the same?
I know i'm going to enjoy the party in the afterlife, but do you all mind that I'm going to be VERY late!!!

Offline CJWAUS

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Re: Undectable....Real or not?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2007, 02:17:45 PM »
My results used to say undetectable level was less than 50, now they say 20 or 30. I forget, but I know it has gone down it shows <20 or <30 one or the other.  I was told a few times that there is a large plus or minus error side with the CD4 however.  I was told by Legacy in Portland, and Harborview (U of WA) in Seattle that the CD4 test can be off as much as 50%.  I don't know if that's true or not but for the past 4 years my CD4 was always over 1000, sometimes as high as 1700, but once it went down to 750 and they retested it the next week and it was up to around 1500, so I think they may be right.

I do know for a fact though that my use of meth was hard on the CD4 numbers.  When I used the numbers would drop down slowly from around 1700 to about 1000.  When i stopped they would slowly go back up over a 6 month period.  I stupidly repeated the cycle 3 or 4 times and it happened every time.  Meth is like fertilizer for HIV.  The longest I have stayed off meth was 6 months and I got quite close to 1800. Some have argued with me that those number are impossible but I have the lab reports in my files.  I've kept copies of every HIV related test report from the old days when the test came back negative to the positive result report, then the numbers reports.

Offline penguin

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Re: Undectable....Real or not?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2007, 02:53:47 PM »
They are accurate within the sensitivity and error margin parameters of the specific test

So, yes/no/kinda

cd4, accurate to approx +/-50 either way
VL, approx three-fold error margin

They give a snapshot of how things are in that ml of blood at the time the test was performed. Only a tiny % of yr viral population is actually circulating in you blood though. Plus, as you know, cd4 can be affected by numerous random things, like time of day, other infections, the lab used/human error etc etc.. n then some days, i'm sure they just head for the beach, or the hills  :)  stuff like this, why we look at trends, rather than individual results

I'm not sure I understand the other part of your question..?? - as above poster notes, vl tests have become increasingly sensitive over the years (& so the goalposts of magic undetectable have shifted)  One of the questions for clinicians/researchers now is, how low do we need to go..? in terms of monitoring, suppression etc - like, is <20 significantly better, or long term beneficial than <50


Offline tigger2376

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  • too bad to die youngish!
Re: Undectable....Real or not?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2007, 07:09:18 PM »
thanks, was just kind of wondering because I've heard so many different descriptions of 'undectable' and was curious as to  how accurate the tests were as you hear all the time of advances in treatments but nothing about advances in testing....thanks again, mind more at rest now
I know i'm going to enjoy the party in the afterlife, but do you all mind that I'm going to be VERY late!!!


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