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Does Viral Load vary depending on when blood is drawn?
Sep 23, 2007

I have been positive for three years. My initial viral loads ranged from 200 to 6000 copies. Last year I started getting cholesterol testing as part of the lab work and always drew blood in the morning after fasting. My viral load results have remained either below <400 (test result just said "<400") or <50 (test said "<50"). Does the time of day that you draw blood result in variable viral load results?

Response from Dr. Pierone

I assume that you on HAART with an undetectable viral load. When we say undetectable what we really mean is that the level of virus in the bloodstream is below the level of quantification. With less sensitive assays the result will read out as <400 copies/ml and the more sensitive test will show <50 copies/ml. There will be more sensitive assays in the future which will measure accurately at lower levels and we should see test results as low as <5 copies/ml. So the different numbers that you are receiving reflect the performance characteristics of the test, not changes in your viral load result.

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