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HIV and Enteropathy
Viral Load Diagnostics


The phenomenon of “viral blips” with the more sensitive assays has been worrying to both patients and providers, and causing some confusion about when to order expensive follow-up labs and when to consider the possibility of virologic failure and ARV resistance. While many more providers are now likely familiar with the most recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines on the threshold for virologic failure, there is still a need for specifi c clinical information on how to interpret viral diagnostic labs and how best to manage patients with low-level viremia (50 copies to 400 copies) and very low-level viremia (20 copies to 50 copies).

With support from some of the biggest manufacturers of the newer real-time assays, AAHIVM sponsored a research “white paper” on the topic of viral load diagnostics and viral blip management.  The lead author on Viral Load Diagnogstics: A Guide for HIV Care Providers, Dr. Babafemi Taiwo, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Dr. Patrick Ryscavage, assistant professor of medicine at the  University of Maryland, closely tackle the clinical issues around persistent low-level viremia, viral blips, viral dynamics following therapy initiation, resistance, virologic failure, immunological trends, the latest data on viral load testing technologies and more. We hope that this short, easy-reference resource helps fill a clinical need in the delivery of quality HIV care.