Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > HIV Viral Load
Viral load is a measurement of how much
HIV is present in your blood. A sample of blood is
drawn and sent to a lab for testing. Results are expressed as the number of
copies of the virus per milliliter of blood. Each virus is called a "copy"
because HIV reproduces by making copies of itself (replicating).
The viral load test gives a more accurate picture than a CD4+ cell count of what the virus
is doing in your body at the moment. (The CD4+ test
measures the effect HIV is having on your immune system.) The viral load test
is used to help decide when to start treatment with medicines (antiretroviral
therapy) and when to change antiretroviral medicines.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPeter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I want to...
1111 Duff Avenue Ames, Iowa 50010
515-239-2011 Email us
Anywhere in Iowa 800-524-6877