Q and A

Question

My viral load has risen to 89 copies/mL, is this OK?

I’ve been undetectable for the last 2 years, however my latest result was 89 copies/mL, should I be worried?

My doctor said that I should have my viral load tested again in 6 months time.

Just to add, I adhere to my meds and I’m taking Atripla.

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

If your viral load has been undetectable for the last two years and you’re adhering to your medication, this could simply be a lab error.

Though your doctor has said that you should wait 6 months for a viral load test, in the UK this would be checked with a second test after four weeks.

Just to note, a viral load is 89 copies mL is still called undetectable (based on a cut off of 200 copies/mL.

If the test you are using has a cut-off of 50 copies/mL and are good with adherence, then this is more likely to just be a blip rather than a real rebound.

2 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Philip,

    What does your doctor say about the viral load?

    Have you been taking Biktarvy for many months? All modern ART is great at reducing viral load in the first days and weeks of treatment. Please see this page from ART in Pictures. This shows how ART can reduce viral load by more than 90% in the first days and weeks.

    But you can ask your doctor if Biktarvy is not working as well as it should. You can ask if you need to change or switch HIV meds.

    Being undetectable with a viral load of less than 50 means that HIV can not be transmitted even if you don’t use condoms. However, the Partner study used 200 copies as the cut off for viral load. Please see this link for info about Partner 1 and 2.

  2. Philip

    I have taken my Biktarvy one year now and my viral load still remains 75 do I have to be worried to have sex with my partner? Without protecting

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