What’s a viral load

Your viral load is the amount of specific viruses that you have, in a given volume of your blood (usually 1 milliliter = 1 cubic centimeter). More precisely, it means that the amount of Hep C genetic material found in your blood corresponds to as many Hep C viruses as the given number says.

What does the viral load refer to?

Your viral load is the amount of specific viruses that you have, in a given volume of your blood (usually 1 milliliter = 1 cubic centimeter). More precisely, it means that the amount of Hep C genetic material found in your blood corresponds to as many Hep C viruses as the given number says.

What does a low but detectable viral load mean?

A low or undetectable viral load means the virus is not progressing. It also means that HIV is not attacking the immune system as actively. This gives the immune system the chance to rebuild its healthy cell count. As a result, the number of CD4 cells in the person’s body will increase as their viral falls.

Does a viral load tell how long you had HIV?

An HIV viral load can find HIV in your blood within days after you’ve been infected. Other tests can take several weeks or months to show an infection. During that time, you could infect someone else without knowing it. An HIV viral load gives you results sooner, so you can avoid spreading the disease.

How long should I wait for undetectable viral load?

Your viral load usually drops quickly after first starting treatment, however it may be a while before it reaches a point where it’s undetectable. Most people who adhere properly to their treatment become undetectable after about six months, but it’s important that you have a viral load test to confirm this.

What is HIV viral load?

Doctors define the viral load as the number of HIV copies in a milliliter of blood (copies/ml). Doctors initially use the viral load to check the status of HIV after diagnosis, then to monitor the success of HIV treatments. When a person contracts HIV the virus replicates in their blood.

What does a low viral load mean?

A low or undetectable viral load means the virus is not progressing. It also means that HIV is not attacking the immune system as actively. This gives the immune system the chance to rebuild its healthy cell count. As a result, the number of CD4 cells in the person’s body will increase as their viral falls.

What does undetectable viral load mean?

Having an undetectable viral load doesn’t mean a person’s cured, because HIV can still hide in other parts of the immune system. Rather, it means the medication they’re taking is effective at suppressing the growth of the virus. Ongoing suppression can only be achieved by continuing to take this medication.

How often is a viral load checked?

A viral load is often checked every three to six months, but it may be checked more often if there is concern that the viral load may be detectable. Whatever their viral load, it’s a good idea for people living with HIV to take steps to protect themselves and their sexual partners.