Viral load measurements are useful for all people with HIV, including pregnant women* and babies*, as the measurements provide doctors with a powerful tool for predicting how the disease is likely to progress. In pregnant women viral load can also give an indication of the risk of passing the virus onto the unborn baby*.
Viral load is studied in conjunction with other factors such as the persons general health, CD4 count and previous treatments, viral load measurements can help doctors and the person with HIV to decide when it is best to start or alter anti-HIV treatment to keep viral load down. Reducing viral load has been shown to reduce the progression of the disease.
Viral load tests cannot be used for diagnosing HIV infection. They are only meant for people known to be HIV positive.
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