Q and A

Question

What does undetectable viral load mean?

What does undetectable viral load mean?

Answer

Hi,

A viral load result tell you how much virus is in your blood.

Results are usually shown as copies per millilitre (copies/mL or c/mL).

The main aim of HIV treatment is for this to become ‘undetectable’. This does not mean that there is no HIV left in your body. It means that viral load can’t be detected using normal tests.

Generally having an undetectable viral load mean that you have less than 50 copies/ml.

This usually happens within the first couple of months of taking HIV treatment (ART). If you start with a high viral load it can sometimes take a little longer.

Having an undetectable viral load shows that your treatment is working.

It is also great because it means that you are extremely unlikely to pass your HIV on. The risk of this happening with an undetectable viral load is close to zero.

2 comments

  1. Simon Collins

    Hi William – I had to slight edit your comment so I hope I have the meaning right. Based on the results from the PARTNER study, i is very difficult to transmit HIV with undetectable viral load.
    http://i-base.info/qa-on-the-partner-study

  2. william

    My friend is untectable 4yrs Is is possible to catch the virus from them?