When is HIV viral load evaluation indicated in the management of HIV infection in primary care?

Updated: Sep 07, 2018
  • Author: Jason F Okulicz, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

This is used to monitor efficacy of ART. Viral load has a high sensitivity in the setting of acute HIV infection when antibody results may still be negative. The goal of ART is to suppress virus to undetectable levels, usually less than 20 or 50 copies/mL.

DHHS guidelines [3] recommend evaluating viral load upon entry into care and upon ART initiation or modification.

In patients on ART, the viral load typically is measured every 3-4 months. However, in adherent patients with consistently suppressed viral load and stable immunologic status for more than 2 years, monitoring can be extended to every 6 months.


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