What is an Undetectable Viral Load?

October 7, 2021

The observational study PARTNER/PARTNER2 defined an undetectable viral load as less than 200 viral copies per milliliter of blood. Although some clinics may set a lower level (40-50 viral copies per milliliter of blood) as an undetectable HIV load.

The amount of HIV in your bodily fluids is called your viral load. Effective HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy) suppresses the amount of HIV in your bodily fluids to the point where standard tests are unable to detect any HIV, or can only find a tiny trace.

Doctors call this ‘virological suppression’ but it is often known as ‘having an undetectable viral load’ or ‘being undetectable’.

Having an undetectable viral load does not mean you are cured of HIV. If you stopped taking treatment, your viral load would increase and once again be detectable.

Typically, people living with HIV can achieve an undetectable viral load through antiretroviral treatment. Successful treatment will suppress an individual’s viral load to a level low enough that standard blood tests cannot detect. For more information please visit this fact sheet. #ItStartsWithU

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