Treatment training manual

3. 9 Reducing viral load to under 50 copies/mL (undetectable)

If you reduce your viral load to under 50 copies/mL (called ‘undetectable’) you are unlikely to develop drug resistance. 

You can then use the same drugs for many years. This does mean that you still need to take all the drugs on time.

An undetectable viral load also dramatically reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

In 2016, approximately 95% of people starting ART who take their meds get an undetectable viral load.

Although people start treatment to improve their health, and to stay healthy, the main goal of treatment in most guidelines is to reduce viral load to undetectable levels (less than 50 copies/mL).

Viral load should go down by at least 90% (1 log) after 1 month of treatment, and get to below 50 copies/mL within 3 to 6 months.

Last updated: 1 January 2016.