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Author Topic: Very low numbers very early on?  (Read 2779 times)

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Offline TechBearSeattle

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Very low numbers very early on?
« on: July 30, 2009, 10:37:06 PM »
This is a rather involved question, but I'll try to be coherent.

About 12 years ago, I was a test subject in a stage 1 HIV vaccine trial here in Seattle. The study lasted two years, and I was asked back to participate in a booster shot study, which lasted another year and a half. When the study was unblinded, I learned that I had received the actual vaccine and not one of the placebos.

This last October, I contracted HIV. What was almost certainly the activation of the virus was far more than the typical "vague flu-like symptoms:" I had a fever of over 103 and ended up in the hospital for six days with the medical center's version of House scratching his head as to why. An HIV antibody test came back negative (required by state law for all unplanned hospital admissions) and my white count was 1/3rd normal, which prompted the ID specialist to order a HIV viral load. That came back at 200, which was so abnormally low that when I was released it was with an official diagnosis of "unknown viral syndrome." At his suggestion, I had the HIV antibody test again over the next few months, to verify the unlikely chance that the viral load results were lab error. In January I was confirmed as HIV+. I have since gone back to the vaccine researchers, and enrolled in a follow-up study of people who had received one of the vaccines and latter sero-converted; they will be doing all the blood work and passing on relevant results to my GP.

My CD4 count is pretty low, with my last results at 398. My viral load is also low, 586. My GP has told me he would normally start someone with that low CD4 count on meds, but with the low viral load he is going to take a "wait and see" approach.

I suspect that my extreme reaction to activation, and my low numbers, are the result of the vaccine having "super activated" my immune system to fight the virus very agressively, but of course the researchers will neither confirm nor deny the possibility. So finally, my question: Is anyone aware of others with similar numbers after six months who have not been in a vaccine study? And if so, how long were they able to go without needing meds?
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Offline Ann

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Re: Very low numbers very early on?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2009, 09:38:57 AM »
Hi Tech, welcome to the forums.

I moved your thread from the Research forum to the I Just Tested Poz forum, which is the more appropriate place for your post.

It can and does happen that some people who haven't been in vaccine trials have a low viral load even when newly infected. It's possible that you'll be a long-term non-progressor, but it's far too early to tell. I'm a long-term SLOW-progressor; I've been poz for twelve years, still no meds. My numbers are in my profile. My doctor didn't put that label on me for quite a few years.

I agree with your doctor's "wait and see" approach.

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Offline madbrain

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Re: Very low numbers very early on?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2009, 04:33:27 PM »
Is anyone aware of others with similar numbers after six months who have not been in a vaccine study?

Yes. My bf was never in a vaccine study. He was tested neg 4/2006, poz 11/2006 . His first CD4 count was 300, CD4 13%, ie. AIDS diagnosis due to the low %. His initial VL was also low at 4000. 3 months later he was at 230 CD4, 9% and 35,000 VL. He started meds shortly after that. He has been undetectable but his CD4 is stuck at about 400. His % is going up though, at 26% for the latest.

It is a fact that some people progress fast and others more slowly, even when exposed to the exact same strain of the virus. My bf and I have the same virus with identical genotype. We definitely got it from each other. I believe I transmitted it to him, but it doesn't really matter who got it first - we both tested neg at the same time, then poz at the same time, in 2006. So far I am doing very well, not on meds, and enrolled in several HIV controller studies. He has been on meds for over 2 years.


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