Can HIV Negatives Have Viral Loads?

Dear Christine,

A simple question: Can someone who tests HIV negative have a positive or detectable viral load?

Thanks,

Belle

Dear Belle,

Here’s a simple answer: Yes. There are many citations in the medical literature attesting to the fact that viral loads are found in people who test HIV antibody negative. And according to what I discovered during a visit to a walk-in testing clinic in my neighborhood, this must happen fairly frequently.

I went to the clinic with the producer and camera crew from a national news program. They wanted me to film me getting an HIV antibody test in answer to charges made by some orthodox AIDS activists that I enjoy good health because I’m really HIV negative. As if!

Since the news show was footing the bill, I got their permission to throw in a viral load along with the antibody test. My only previous experience with viral loads were inspired by a lab offering them at a special price of just $10 and the two I took had come back with weirdly remarkable results: 359,000 on one and 980 on the other. I was curious to know what my supposed load might be four years later after pregnancy and child birth.

When I turned in my request form with check marks on the HIV antibody and viral load tests, the receptionist told me she could not accept my order, and the medical director of the clinic was called out from his office to explain. He told me they had to set a policy of running viral load tests only on people that were confirmed HIV antibody positive due to the "complicated and difficult to explain situations" that arise when a detectable viral load is found in an HIV negative person. To avoid these “uncomfortable mistakes,” they now prohibit persons of unknown HIV antibody status from taking viral load tests.

In other words, according to this doctor, viral load provides an accurate measure of the virus when used to test people assumed to have the virus, but is an unreliable measure of virus when used to test people we cannot assume have the virus; and the best way to eliminate false detection of HIV is to prevent people who are not supposed to have a viral load from taking the test. To summarize, when a viral load test gives a detectable or positive reading in an HIV positive, it’s accurate information about the virus, but when it gives a detectable or positive reading in someone who’s HIV negative, it’s a mistake!

Until AIDS, the scientific method has always been to prove a hypothesis or validate a diagnostic by trying to prove it wrong. In the era of AIDS, science goes to great lengths to prevent any experiments that might risk falsifying popular ideas or prove any aspect of the HIV hypothesis to be incorrect.

Thanks for the question,

Christine

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References

to T Cells and Viral Load FAQ's - Do Low Viral Loads Keep Up T Cells and Health?

to Risk Realities