Viral load is what’s used to describe the amount of HIV present in the blood. As viral count rises, so does the CD4 cell count - this essentially means that the risk of becoming sick as a result of HIV increases as does the potential of passing on the virus [1].

See also: What is the Treatment for HIV?


What does an undetectable viral load mean?


HIV treatment works by reducing the amount of viral load in the blood to keep the immune system functioning properly and preventing any potential illness. These medications can work to the point where the virus becomes undetectable in tests, commonly referred to as undetectable viral load [2].

It’s important to keep in mind that although the viral load is so low that it can’t be detected, it doesn’t mean that the HIV has disappeared or been cured completely; treatment will need to continue in order to maintain this level [3].

See also: What are the Stages of HIV?


What does a detectable viral load mean if you’re receiving HIV treatment?


Recreational, prescription or herbal drugs can all have an effect on HIV treatment, as can not taking medication at the correct time or skipping doses [4]. If viral load remains detectable during treatment, it may be a result of the aforementioned, or it may boil down to another aspect.

Your healthcare provider will likely speak to you about the next steps as well as the options available with regards to the correct combination of medications that may work best.

See also: HIV and Pneumonia: What’s the Connection?


It’s important to keep in mind that many people might not experience any signs of symptoms of HIV and early detection is key to beginning treatment and going on to live a healthy life - this is why it’s so important to regularly screen your sexual health.

Testing for HIV can be done with your local doctor or from home with an at-home lab test. LetsGetChecked’s at-home STI Tests detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections. The test for HIV involves a simple finger-prick sample and online results will be available within 2-5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available throughout the process to provide support and guidance in any way they can.

See also: How do you Check for HIV From Home?



References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Treatment. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Antiretroviral Therapy to Prevent Sexual Transmission of HIV (Treatment as Prevention). Online: Clinicalinfo.hiv.gov, 2019
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Antiretroviral Therapy to Prevent Sexual Transmission of HIV (Treatment as Prevention). Online: Clinicalinfo.hiv.gov, 2019
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Treatment. Online: Cdc.gov, 2019