Viral load is a measurement of how much
HIV is present in your blood. A sample of blood is
drawn and sent to a lab for testing. Results are expressed as the number of
copies of the virus per milliliter of blood. Each virus is called a "copy"
because HIV reproduces by making copies of itself (replicating).
The viral load test gives a more accurate picture than a CD4+ cell count of what the virus
is doing in your body at the moment. (The CD4+ test
measures the effect HIV is having on your immune system.) The viral load test
is used to help decide when to start treatment with medicines (antiretroviral
therapy) and when to change antiretroviral medicines.
Caring for a loved one with AIDS can be an exhausting task, both physically and emotionally. It involves managing the physical and practical aspects of your loved one’s care while struggling with the emotions of seeing someone you care for suffer and fearing the eventual outcome of the disease. It also requires taking care of yourself -- managing the stress of caregiving and keeping yourself healthy -- so you can provide the care your loved one needs.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is...
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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