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  • Viral Load
    See Viral Burden.
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    • Viral Burden (Viral load) JAMA
      The amount of HIV in the circulating blood. Monitoring a person's viral burden is important because of the apparent correlation between the amount of virus in the blood and the severity of the disease: sicker patients generally have more virus than those with less advanced disease. A new, sensitive, rapid test--called the branched DNA assay for HIV-1 infection--can be used to monitor the HIV viral burden. In the future, this procedure may help clinicians decide when to give anti-HIV therapy. It may also help investigators determine more quickly if experimental HIV therapies are effective.
    • Viral Load (Viral Burden): SFAF
      the amount of virus in the blood or other tissues. The presence of HIV RNA indicates that the virus is replicating. Changes in viral load may be used to gauge drug effectiveness and disease progression. Viral load is measured using assays such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or branched-chain DNA (bDNA), and is expressed as the number of copies of RNA per milliliter (mL) of blood plasma or per milligram of tissue. Increases and decreases are expressed as log (10-fold) changes.
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