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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  • 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
  • A gay’s guide to undetectable

    Undetectable Viral Load. It’s a phrase you might have heard a bit recently, with an increased focus on educating HIV positive and negative gay men about what it is, and how it can prevent the spread of HIV. For something that’s been around since 1996 (the same year the Spice Girls released Wannabe, for context) it’s strange we’ve only recently embraced Undetectable Viral Load (UVL) – but HIV is a demanding beast that science, research, and community opinion chases to keep up with. What “undetectable” means to you depends entirely on your HIV status, your sexual behaviour, and your definition of risk. With that in mind, let’s unload…

    11 June 2015 | Gay News Network, Australia
  • Still refusing to date HIV+ guys? Here’s why you could be putting your health at risk

    Matthew Hodson, of UK-based gay men’s health charity, GMFA, explains why arguments for not having sex with gay men who are HIV positive make little sense – and could actually pose a danger for those who are HIV negative

    09 April 2015 | Gaystar News
  • An HIV Doctor Tells You If Undetectable Really Is the New Negative

    Does being undetectable change the way you talk about your HIV status? Can a person who is undetectable stop worrying about transmitting HIV? Joel Gallant, an HIV doctor at Southwest CARE Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico gives his view.

    28 January 2015 | The Body
  • Cepheid and FIND Announce European Approval of Xpert HIV-1 Viral Load

    Cepheid and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) today announced that Xpert® HIV-1 Viral Load, a quantitative test for measurement of the HIV-1 viral load in plasma, has achieved CE-IVD status under the European Directive on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices. The test runs on the Cepheid GeneXpert® System, the world's leading molecular diagnostic platform with over 7,500 systems deployed globally in both developed and emerging market countries.

    21 January 2015 | Cepheid press release
  • 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
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