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What does the viral load in an HIV-infected person signify?

Q: Can there be passive carriers for HIV? What does viral load for an HIV-infected person detect? Is it possible to detect when the person has contacted HIV if the CD4 count is around 250? Can the CD4 count be increased by taking anti-retrovial drugs? By taking anti-retroval drugs, can an HIV-infected person avoid getting AIDS and live a full life span? Are there any insurance companies that provide medical cover for HIV-infected people?

A:I will answer your questions point wise:

  • A person can carry the virus in his/ her body for a long time before manifesting symptoms. Ultimately, every HIV-infected person has symptoms.
  • Viral load detects the number of HIV particles in the blood.
  • Yes, it can be detected when CD4 count is around 250.
  • Yes, CD4 count goes up if effective anti-retroviral drugs are taken regularly.
  • ARV drugs do increase length and quality of life of the infected person if the person also leads a regulated life and takes a balanced diet.
  • No, till date, unfortunately, insurance companies don't provide insurance cover to HIV positives.

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