The results from the different methods (RT-PCR,
bDNA, NASBA) to measure viral load are not interchangeable. This makes it
important to use the same method of measuring each time.
undetectable viral load result does not mean that you no longer have HIV in
your blood. It simply means that the amount of HIV in the blood was too low for
the test to detect. HIV still can be passed to another person even when the
viral load cannot be detected.
The viral load test is more accurate than a CD4+ count
to evaluate the activity of HIV. The CD4+ count measures how well your
immune system is working and may be used to determine
when to start
antiretroviral therapy. The viral load test is used to
determine the response to antiretroviral therapy. No HIV should be detected in the blood of people whose treatment is successful. To learn more about
the CD4+ count, see the topic
Other Works Consulted
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.