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.

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  • Issue Brief: Achieving undetectable: what questions remain in scaling-up HIV virologic treatment monitoring?

    Although the majority of developing countries do not yet offer viral load testing on a routine basis, the use of HIV viral load monitoring is rapidly gathering pace in most developing countries. Which questions remain in further scaling up this gold standard for HIV treatment monitoring in these countries? Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is releasing Achieving Undetectable, the latest in a series of issue briefs and reports on access to viral load monitoring in resource-limited settings.

    15 December 2014 | MSF
  • Sophisticated HIV diagnostics adapted for remote areas

    Diagnosing HIV and other infectious diseases presents unique challenges in remote locations that lack electric power, refrigeration, and appropriately trained health care staff. To address these issues, researchers have developed a low-cost, electricity-free device capable of detecting the DNA of infectious pathogens, including HIV-1.

    10 December 2014 | Science Daily
  • Sophisticated HIV diagnostics adapted for remote areas

    Diagnosing HIV and other infectious diseases presents unique challenges in remote locations that lack electric power, refrigeration, and appropriately trained health care staff. To address these issues, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a low-cost, electricity-free device capable of detecting the DNA of infectious pathogens, including HIV-1.

    02 December 2014 | National Institutes of Health
  • The genetics of coping with HIV

    We respond to infections in two fundamental ways. One is 'resistance,' where the body attacks the invading pathogen and reduces its numbers. Another, which is much less well understood, is 'tolerance,' where the body tries to minimize the damage done by the pathogen. A study using data from a large Swiss cohort of HIV-infected individuals gives us a glimpse into why some people cope with HIV better than others.

    12 November 2014 | Science Daily
  • Viral Load Testing Dismally Absent in Africa

    As Africa scales up lifesaving antiretroviral therapy for HIV positive people, concerns are rife that the absence of mass routine viral load testing will hamper extending treatment to the millions who need it.

    20 May 2014 | Inter Press Service
  • Is Viral Load Testing for HIV a Realistic Strategy in Developing Countries?

    Are the new WHO recommendations realistic for low-income countries? If not, what needs to be done to achieve better access to technologies for viral load monitoring in resource-poor settings?

    28 February 2014 | PLOS Blogs
  • Viral load tests 'could transform HIV treatment failure'

    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling for an increased use of viral load monitoring to improve treatment outcomes of HIV patients, in its latest study on testing in Africa. Of those suspected of treatment failure after standard HIV tests such as white cell counts and clinical signs, as many as 70 per cent could be unnecessarily switched to more toxic treatments because these tests can falsely suggest their first-line treatment is failing, MSF’s study reports.

    02 January 2014 | SciDev.net
  • 'Samba' viral load machine a boost for HIV patients in Malawi

    Viral load testing becomes easier and quicker, improves life in remote rural areas.

    02 January 2014 | Gulfnews.com
  • Finding new ways to make viral load testing cheaper

    As the number of people receiving HIV treatment rises, and more people become eligible for treatment, the prohibitive cost of viral load tests will have to come down, and donors should use their purchasing power to push for better prices, said medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a report released at the 17th International AIDS Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa.

    13 December 2013 | IRIN
  • Malawi's success story in reducing HIV infection

    Through dispensing antiretroviral drugs and monitoring their effectiveness, Malawi has slashed deaths and infection rates

    02 December 2013 | The Guardian
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