HIV/AIDS Glossary

Viral Load Test

A laboratory test that measures the amount of HIV in a blood sample. Results are reported as the number of copies of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood. Examples of viral load tests include quantitative branched DNA (bDNA), reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and qualitative transcription-mediated amplification. Viral load tests are used to diagnose acute HIV infection, guide treatment choices, and monitor response to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Related Term(s): Qualitative Transcription-Mediated Amplification Assay, Quantitative Branched DNA Assay, Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction-Based Assay

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