How can drugs fail when I feel fine?

Viral failure relates to results from a blood test. It is different to how well you feel.

It is when viral load not only becomes detectable, but continues to rise, even when you are taking all your meds.

If you stay on this failing treatment, drug resistance becomes stronger. Your CD4 count will then start to drop because the meds are no longer as active.

This might not be for several months but it will happen.

A lower CD4 count increases the risk of becoming ill. This is called clinical failure. See Figure 3.

Figure 3. From rebound to symptoms

Fig 3 time from viral to clinical failure

  1. Viral load rebounds. If you stay on the same meds, it will keep rising. 
  2. Your CD4 count will then go down over time.
  3. As your CD4 count drops this increases the risk of becoming ill.

Last updated: 1 August 2021.