Treatment training manual

2.10 Impact of coinfections on viral load

Other infections can increase HIV viral load.

  • Having another virus can increase HIV viral load.
  • Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increase levels of HIV in genital fluids, but only by relatively small amounts. These STIs include herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis. The higher viral load will make HIV slightly more infectious. This is one reason why having other STIs are related to a higher risk of HIV transmission.
  • Luckily, the results from the PARTNER study did not report HIV transmissions when a positive partner had an undetectable viral load in blood, even though some people had STIs that might have increased viral load a little.
  • Viral infections like the flu can increase your viral load while the infection is active. If you get a high viral load result when you have flu or a cold, you should retest when you feel better.
  • Malaria can increase your viral load while the infection is active.
  • Some vaccinations may also increase viral load temporarily.
  • HIV can also increase the levels of other viruses in someone who has HIV and another infection.

Last updated: 1 January 2016.