Q and A


I’ve been on meds for 3 years, why is my viral load still detectable?

I have been HIV positive for almost three years and been taking medication since that time. However my viral load is not yet undetectable of which I believe it should be right now. I get my medication from a public clinic but now I am working and have a medical aid I have decided that I want to go to the private doctor however that is another long procedure and it will cause me to not take medication for few days…so will that affect my health or will it cause medication to not work?


Thanks for getting in touch.

If you’ve been on meds for 3 years and you still aren’t undetectable, this implies that something  is possibly  wrong. This is because a persons viral load is expected to be undetectable within 3 months. Though it can take longer if you start meds with a low CD4 count. But not 3 years.

Therefore, its important that you talk to your doctor about this. Be this the one you have now, or the one you will get when you change cover. You will need to have a resistance test done. And it sounds like you will need to change your treatment plan.

With regards to, if its OK or not to miss meds for a few days, this will depend on what meds you’re taking. What is it that you use? Also, if they aren’t working as they should, it may not make much difference.

When are you due to go private?


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Zanele,

    You missing your ARVs for two days won’t be the reason why you’re having the sensations that you’re having. Therefore, if you’re feeling unwell you should see a doctor.

  2. zanele

    Hi im taking atroiza from last year 22 december this year on the 25-26 of september i forgot to take it but i did continue from the 27 until now but now im feeling sick and im feeling like there is something crowling inside my body i dont know what is it or mybe the druks is no longer working

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Zitha,

    It could be a blip, if may also be that they aren’t suited to the new drugs. Therefore, this is something that you need to talk to a doctor about.

  4. Zitha

    My partner and I are on ART and adhere to treatment but in recent months my partners viral load has shot up to above 2000 copies from four years being undetectable. What could be a possible cause. We take our meds from a public/gift clinic and he was on regimen 1B, of which recently the 3TC and Lamivudine were changed to Tenemine combination i.e. Tenofovir and Emticitabine. The change to Tenemine was done after he underwent hernia repair surgery. Please help.

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Grace,

    Basically your partner has been lucky, especially if your viral load is still detectable.

    What is your viral load now? What was it when you started? I’m asking because by now it should be undetectable.

  6. Grace

    I have been on arvs for 6 months, my viral load is still detectable, but i have not been using condoms, my partner is negative. What could be the reason for this?


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