The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Understanding Your LabsUnderstanding Your Labs
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

What does viral load mean on a cellular level?

Sep 28, 1998

I understand that the viral load test measures the amount of virus in the blood. Does this mean that a higher viral load causes the DNA in more cells to be affected at once? Is having a viral load of 8,000 for four years the same as having a viral load of 40,000 for one year? Once the DNA in a cell is changed by the virus will all replications include that change? Thanks for all your help.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

In general that is correct. The higher the plasma viral load, the greater the number of infected cells, and hence viral DNA load in cells. In general the higher the viral load, the more likely uninfected cells will become infected, produce virus, and then die. We do not yet understand all the math relationships, but in general a VL of 40,000 will likely infect and kill more cells in one year than a VL of 8,000 over 4 years. Most cells (lymphocytes) that are HIV infected have shorter lives than uninfected cells. That certainly effects the ultimate function of cells. MH

Clear up some confusion please
Confused...Please help?

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint