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Viral load testing

Oct 2, 2011

Is there a difference in the terms "no target detected" and "undetectable" in regards to you viral load testing and if so, please explain.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Yes, and the test makers have created confusion among providers and patients about this. Undetectable means that the viral load is below the level of detection for the assay, but that virus is still present in the blood. No target detected means that the viral load is below the level of detection for the assay, but that no virus was detected at all in the blood. The assays only measure the virus that is cell free in the blood plasma. They do not measure virus that is present inside blood cells. So one should not think that "no target detected" means that a person has no virus.

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