The HIV viral load test is used for detecting the number of copies of HIV RNA present in a given blood sample. The viral load signifies the level of HIV virus found in your body. It also helps in determining the pace at which the infection will progress. On the other hand, the CD4 count tells us the extent of the damage already done by the disease.
Read further to know more about the HIV viral load test in Mumbai, including its price and cost, preparation, understanding test results, etc.
The HIV viral load test is done to track the development of the HIV infection in the body and also to check the efficacy of the prescribed treatment.
The HIV viral load test measures the amount of HIV RNA present in your blood.
There are usually no side effects associated with the HIV viral load test. However, for a few days, some pain might be felt in the area from where the blood was taken. Bruising can also occur. If vein inflammation occurs, you can opt for warm compress as a treatment.
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The HIV virus replicates itself in the body during its early stages, which is asymptomatic, and damages our CD-4 cells, the white blood cells responsible for combating diseases.
If a proper treatment for HIV is not received, the virus will repeatedly replicate itself, which will increase its viral load and simultaneously decrease the CD4 cell count, hampering our immune system’s ability to combat several infections.
The antibodies against HIV are produced 3-8 weeks after getting infected. Usually, during this time, the viral load gets decreased and the symptoms also are not visible.
The HIV viral load test is performed:
There are no preparations required for the HIV viral load test. However, do inform your doctor if you are suffering from any disease, the medications you’re taking, and the vaccines you have had before the HIV viral load test, since all these can briefly elevate your HIV viral load.
A blood sample is drawn via an injection from a vein located in your arm by a trained phlebotomist for conducting the HIV viral load test.
Normal viral load: No detection of HIV RNA in the blood sample.
You have a high viral load if the copies of the HIV genetic material in your blood sample are 100,000 or more. They can be higher than one million as well, since the virus constantly replicates itself.
You have a low viral load if the copies of the HIV genetic material in your blood sample are less than 10,000. It indicates the slow replication of the virus and also the gradual harm caused to your immune system.
The number of HIV RNA copies per milliliter of blood (copies/mL) tells us the viral load. An increase of the same means the development of the disease. Similarly, a decrease in the viral load indicates a reduction in the infection levels.
If the viral load is undetectable, it does not necessarily mean that you are HIV-negative. Sometimes, due to a low viral load, the HIV RNA in your blood cannot be detected using the test. You can still transmit the infection to others.
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