|What exactly does viral load testing measure?
May 1, 1997
What exactly does a viral load test measure? Is the test sensitive enough to measure only HIV or can other non-HIV "viral like" events also trigger a positive viral load result? I recently had a Hepatitas A vacination and about five days later had blood tests done that came back with 750,000 viral load. Within a month this has dropped to just over 1,000. To this point I have been consistently HIV- and practice safer sex 100% of the time. Is there any chance that the viral load tests are measuring my body's response to the vacination, rather than a new HIV infection?
| Response from Dr. Cohen
I am totally confused. If you are HIV-negative, why are having all these viral load tests done?
There is such a thing as a false positive viral load: low viral loads (like 1000) can sometimes occur in someone without HIV infection. It would be very unlikely that a viral load of 750,000 would be an error, however. Viral loads can rise after an immunization, but only if there is HIV there to begin with.
I suggest that rather than try to figure out what these numbers mean, you find out whether you have HIV infection by getting an HIV test.
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 TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.