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Viral load

Nov 25, 2017

My husband viral load value is of 37 does this can be interpreted as undetectable? His Dr alwaya said that is undetectable but lab test does not say that.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

HIV viral load tests usually offer up two pieces of information: one is whether the virus was detected or not; the second is what the numerical value of the detected was (viral load). In some cases, virus might be detected, but the level too low to be measured accurately, and so (for example) the test will read, "viral load <20, detected'.

In your husband's case, the doctor was incorrect (or at least misunderstood), as his viral load was both detected and quantified. Yet, a viral load of 37 is extremely low and generally not worrisome, either from a disease or transmission perspective. Most viral loads in this range, particularly if preceded, and followed by tests with undetectable reports are called viral load "blips" and have been shown to not have any clinical significance.

I hope that's helpful, BY



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