Viral load blips
Viral load blips are common.
A blip is when viral load goes above 50 copies/mL for a short time and then drops back down. See Figure 1.
Most blips are not detected because viral load is only tested twice a year in people on stable treatment.
Blips can be defined as an increase from less than 50 copies/mLto above 200, 500 or even 1000 copies/mL. Most blips are under 200 copies/mL. Blips can be caused by other infections, such as flu or herpes, or a recent vaccination.
Some blips are just lab errors.
Figure 1. Viral load blips
A single blip above 50 is common. It doesn’t mean you need to change treatment.
A blip is usually undetectable again on the confirmatory test.
Last updated: 1 January 2018.