Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in your blood. The more HIV there is in your blood (and therefore the higher your viral load), then the faster your CD4 cell count will fall, and the greater your risk of becoming ill because of HIV.

Viral load tests measure the amount of HIV’s genetic material in a blood sample. The results of a viral load test are described as the number of copies of HIV RNA in a millilitre of blood. But your doctor will normally just talk about your viral load as a number.

How to decrease the viral load in your body

This is because HIV treatment can reduce the amount of virus (viral load) in the blood and other bodily fluids (such as semen and vaginal and rectal fluids) to undetectable levels. To become and remain undetectable, people living with HIV need to take their HIV treatment as prescribed.

When successful treatment lowers the viral load to undetectable levels, this can greatly reduce or eliminate the risk of HIV transmission. ART usually consists of a combination of at least three antiretroviral drugs taken daily.