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Frequently Asked Questions

What do CD4 and viral load numbers mean?

However, in general, a high CD4 count and a low — or undetectable — viral load are desirable. The higher the CD4 count, the healthier the immune system. The lower the viral load, the likelier it is that HIV therapy is working. When HIV invades healthy CD4 cells, the virus turns them into factories to make new copies of HIV before destroying them.

What does HIV viral load tell you?

The HIV viral load test is used initially, along with a CD4 count, to determine the status of HIV infection in a person diagnosed with the disease. The viral load is then used to monitor the effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment (ART) over time.

What is HIV viral load and why is it important?

An HIV viral load is a blood test that measures the amount of HIV in your blood. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. These cells protect your body against viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing germs.

What is considered a high viral load for HIV?

Initial, untreated, and uncontrolled HIV viral loads can range as high as one million or more copies/mL. In someone who is receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART), a high viral load means that the treatment is not effective. People who do not respond to treatment will likely have their therapy changed.


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