Q and A


What does a non-detectable viral load mean?

I am now into my 22nd year of living with HIV and have been non-detectable for 10 years now. I have been on antiretrovirals the entire time, have tolerated them fairly well and have never been seriously ill. I started with a CD4 of 80 and have been above 350 for many years going as high as 670 in 2007. In 2008, my CD4 is 505. My viral load remains non-detectable. I know enough to be very grateful.

Also, as a sidebar note. I experienced facial wasting ten years ago and had facial filler (Sculptra) injections last year. I must say that the results, even after two sessions, were amazing. I had three treatments total and I remain extremely pleased with the outcome. I have my face back! I have medium brown skin and suffered no scaring at the injection sites. This process has really given my self-esteem and quality of life a super boost.


Thank you for your question.

Viral load test is a key marker to whether treatment is working. When you achieve a non-detectable or undetectable viral load it shows that the treatment is working.

An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in your blood is below the threshhold needed for detection by this test.

Being able to maintain an undetectable viral load for ten years is great. It shows your good adherence and that your treatment is working. So, well done and keep taking your treatment.

This link has more information about different cut off levels for an undetectable viral load – ie 200, 50 and 20 copies/mL.

This answer was updated in May 2021 from an original question in February 2008.


  1. Simon Collins

    Hi Hardee, it sounds like you are HIV positive (antibody reactive), on treatment (ART) and have an undetectable viral load. This is all good because it shows that your treatment is working well.

  2. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Hardee,

    I’m not clear about your question. Please can you tell us more?


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