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HIV Viral Load

  • HIV viral load is a measure of the number of HIV RNA copies found in 1 mL of blood.
  • An “undetectable” viral load is usually <20-40 HIV RNA copies/mL, depending on the type of test used.
  • A viral load above 10,000 HIV RNA copies/mL is an indication of HIV disease progression. The higher the viral load, the faster the disease is progressing.
  • Any continuous increase in viral load suggests low efficacy of the anti-HIV medications the patient is taking. Physicians use viral load measures to determine if and when to change HAART regimens.
  • High viral loads have been associated with the development of oral lesions.

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