A viral load test shows how much HIV there is in a small sample of blood. The lower the amount the better. The aim of HIV treatment is to reduce viral load to a level which is too low to be measured by standard tests. This is called an ‘undetectable’ viral load. This means HIV is still present in your body, but at a low level.

Viral load: latest news

Viral load resources

  • Health issues

    If you are ‘HIV positive’ this means that you have a virus called HIV in your body. It doesn’t mean that you are ill, or that...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Viral load

    Effective HIV treatment results in a fall in viral loadAn undetectable viral load is the aim of HIV treatment.Having an undetectable viral load massively reduces...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV treatment as prevention

    This briefing paper, produced by NAM for HIV Prevention England, describes the scientific evidence for HIV treatment as prevention and considers its implications for the UK....

    From: HIV prevention briefing papers

  • Viral load and the risk of transmission

    This section will examine:The link between viral load as measured in the blood, and the risk of sexual ...

    From: HIV transmission & testing

    Information level Level 4
  • Viral load

    Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in a body fluid. Your clinic will measure the viral load in your blood. When you...

    From: Living with HIV

    Information level Level 2
  • Viral load

    Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in your blood. The more HIV there is in your blood (and therefore the higher...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Health checks

    Staff at your HIV clinic use various tests to keep an eye on your HIV. Many of these tests are done on samples of your...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • CD4 and viral load

    It’s important for all people with HIV to take regular blood tests. The two most important blood tests are for CD4 and viral load.A CD4...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Undetectable viral load

    If your viral load result is undetectable, there is only a little HIV in the body. The aim of HIV treatment is to have an...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Viral load

    Details of the viral load test, including the techniques used to measure it, how the test's results should be interpreted, and how it can be...

    From: HIV treatments directory

    Information level Level 4

Viral load features

Viral load news from aidsmap

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Viral load news selected from other sources

  • HIV effort let down by test shortages, says WHO

    A shortage of HIV testing could undermine global efforts to diagnose and treat people with the infection, warn experts from the World Health Organization.

    24 August 2016 | BBC Health
  • MSF Report - Making Viral Load Routine

    Based on a survey performed across ten MSF supported ART sites and seven viral load testing laboratories in February 2016, “Making viral load routine” aims to share practical lessons from the field with Ministries of Health and implementing partners. The report reflects both on the programmatic strategies required within the clinic (for clinicians, counsellors and patients) and the realities of both setting up and keeping a viral load testing laboratory functional in such settings.

    12 July 2016 | MSF
  • HIV and drug resistance

    A recent study found more resistance to the antiretroviral medicine tenofovir than had previously been reported, with 20% resistance to tenofovir in patients with treatment failure in Europe and over 50% resistance in patients with treatment failure in sub-Saharan Africa... The study underlines the importance of rapidly identifying treatment failure through routine measurement of viral load suppression—this is the basis of the third pillar of UNAIDS’ 90–90–90 treatment target, that 90% of people accessing HIV treatment have suppressed viral loads.

    09 February 2016 | UNAIDS
  • Malawi: Govt Launches HIV Viral Load Scale Up Strategic Implementation Plan

    Government on Wednesday launched the Viral Load scale Up Strategic Implementation Plan for the years 2015 to 2018.

    19 January 2016 | AllAfrica
  • Undetectable & Low-level HIV Viral Replication

    Even people who are adherent to their medication regimens may experience occasional “blips” in their viral loads, experience viral rebound or maintain a steady, if low, viral load above undetectable levels. To understand why some people struggle to achieve or remain undetectable, we spoke with Keith Henry, MD, an HIV specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center who has more than 25 years of experience caring for people with HIV.

    06 January 2016 | BETA blog
  • Routine viral load tests must be accessible for all

    In Zambia, on 30 October, hundreds of people marched as part of a new campaign calling on African governments to make viral load tests routinely available to all citizens living with HIV. The campaign Be Healthy – Know your viral load was launched in Lusaka, and people living with HIV, treatment advocates and representatives from the participating countries* took part in a march which was flagged off by George Nyendwa, Mayor of Lusaka.

    10 November 2015 | Key Correspondents
  • FS, the UK gay men's sex and health magazine, magazine celebrates its 150th issue with its biggest gay sex survey

    FS magazine celebrates its 150th issue with the big gay sex survey results. We surveyed over 3,000 gay men and bring you the results. These include finding that two-thirds of gay men used ocndoms the last time they had anal sex, that 69% now know what PrEP is but that only 51% understand what being positive and undetectable means.

    08 October 2015 | GMFA
  • STIs Have Minimal Effects on Viral Load of People on HIV Treatment

    Sexually transmitted infections apparently have a minimal effect on the HIV viral load of those who are taking antiretrovirals for the virus. Having an STI was associated with a 29 percent rise in viral load but this finding was not statistically significant. The researchers concluded that having an STI is not likely to reduce the effectiveness of ARVs as a form of HIV prevention.

    03 September 2015 | POZ
  • Vancouver delegates call for greater innovation in HIV diagnostics

    Innovation in HIV diagnostics is urgently needed if the world hopes to achieve the 90–90–90 target for access to antiretroviral therapy, leading scientific experts advised this week. The call for intensified effort and innovation on HIV diagnostics occurred during two sessions at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, held in Vancouver, Canada.

    22 July 2015 | UNAIDS
  • New Approach on HIV Viral Load Testing

    Framework agreements will be established between the Global Fund and seven diagnostic manufacturers which aim to make the market for HIV viral load testing more transparent and competitive, driving cost reductions of up to one third. The agreements should deliver net savings of at least US$30 million over three years to the Global Fund, and potentially much more.

    17 June 2015 | Global Fund
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Our information levels explained

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Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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