The difference between HIV viral load and CD4 tests - Blog - HIV Viral Load Monitoring
The CD4 count is a test that measures how strong your immune system is Your doctor may want to conducts tests and change your ART drugs Wait for at least a couple of weeks after you've been sick or gotten a shot before you get a test A viral load test 2 to 8 weeks after you start or change treatment. Although the CD4 and viral load tests measure different things, the A few weeks after infection, HIV viral load is very high, and the CD4 count. HIV viral load is used initially, along with a CD4 count, to determine the status of HIV infection in a person diagnosed with the disease and to.
They alert other immune cells to the presence of infections such as bacteria and other viruses in the body. CD4 cells are also a subset of immune cells called T cells. This process damages CD4 cells and causes the number of them in the body to drop, making it difficult to fight infections. CD4 counts show the robustness of the immune system. What is a viral load? Viral loads are generally highest for a period right after contracting HIV.
A viral load can include millions of copies per mL of blood, especially when the virus is first contracted. A low viral load indicates relatively few copies of HIV in the blood. If an HIV treatment plan is effective, a person will be able to maintain a lower viral load. However, in general, a high CD4 count and a low — or undetectable — viral load are desirable.
The higher the CD4 count, the healthier the immune system. The lower the viral load, the likelier it is that HIV therapy is working. How often might someone be tested?
A healthcare provider will likely conduct CD4 counts and viral load tests more often at the beginning of HIV therapy or with any changes in medications. Most people living with HIV should have lab tests performed every three to four months, according to current lab test guidelines.
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Less frequent testing may be needed for people who take daily medication or have maintained a suppressed viral load for over 2 years. They may only need to be tested twice a year.
HIV & AIDS Information :: CD4, viral load & other tests - Viral load
Why is it important to get tested regularly? A single CD4 or viral load test result only represents a snapshot in time.
Keep in mind that these values may vary for many reasons, even throughout the day. The time of day, any illnesses, and recent vaccinations can all affect CD4 count and viral load. The goal of HIV therapy is to reduce or suppress the viral load to an undetectable level. A rise from 50, tomay not be significant, but a rise from to 25, is likely to be significant.
This result suggests your viral load is five times the level it was at your last viral load test. Your doctor will probably want to confirm this trend with a repeat test. Your viral load can also be a factor in choosing which anti-HIV drugs you start treatment with.
Taking your treatment in the right way, every day, gives it the best chance of working. If you are having difficulty taking your treatment, for any reason, it is really important to talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team about it. Your doctor will check your viral load within a month of starting treatment, and again three and six months after starting treatment.
Your viral load four weeks after starting HIV treatment is a good indicator of whether it will become undetectable on this combination of anti-HIV drugs. The aim of HIV treatment is an undetectable viral load. Your viral load should have fallen to undetectable levels within three to six months of starting HIV treatment. Once you have an undetectable viral load, you will have your viral load monitored every three to four months. If you have had an undetectable viral load for some time and are doing well on treatment, your doctor may offer you the option to have your viral load measured every six months or every year.
Undetectable viral load All viral load tests have a cut-off point below which they cannot reliably detect HIV. This is called the limit of detection. If your viral load is below 50, it is usually said to be undetectable. It might still be present in the blood, but in amounts too low to be measured. Viral load tests only measure levels of HIV in the blood, which may be different to the viral load in other parts of your body, for example in your genital fluids, gut or lymph nodes.
Why it is good to have an undetectable viral load Having an undetectable viral load is important for a number of reasons. First of all, because your immune system is able to recover and become stronger, it means that you have a very low risk of becoming ill because of HIV. It also reduces your risk of developing some other serious illnesses as well. There is some evidence that the presence of HIV especially a higher viral load can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease illnesses such as heart disease and stroke.
Secondly, having an undetectable viral load means that the risk of HIV becoming resistant to the anti-HIV drugs you are taking is very small.
2.14 How CD4 and viral load are related
Finally, having an undetectable viral load massively reduces the risk of passing on HIV to someone else. This is because not taking treatment regularly, or interactions with other drugs, can cause the levels of anti-HIV drugs in your body to be too low to work. You may have a blood test to look at the level of anti-HIV drugs in your blood and to see if your HIV has developed resistance to any drugs. Then they will discuss the options with you. This may involve changing your anti-HIV drugs to find a combination that works for you.
If you are taking HIV treatment and have had an undetectable viral load, and then you have a test that shows a detectable viral load, you will need to have another test to confirm the result. If later tests still show your viral load has become detectable again, you will probably need to change your HIV treatment.CD4 and Viral Load Tests: Part 1
Your doctor will discuss your options with you. Their viral load increases from undetectable to a low but detectable level before becoming undetectable again on the next test. Viral load blips do not necessarily show that your HIV treatment is no longer working. There are a number of theories about the reasons for blips.