Whether you are HIV-positive or Hep C- positive, your 'viral load' (VL) is the measure of virus present in your bloodstream.

HIV and Viral Load (VL)

For a HIV positive man, an 'undetectable viral load’ (UVL) means there is no measurable level of HIV in your blood and indicates how well your HIV medication is supressing the virus and therefore the risk of passing HIV onto a sexual partner or fuck buddy.

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HCV and Viral Load (VL)

If you have contracted the hepatitis C virus (HCV), your HCV VL can be measured. The VL estimates how much HCV is circulating in your blood and can indicate the risk of passing HCV onto a sexual partner or fuck buddy.

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Detectable VL

Whether a person has HCV or HIV (or both), around 5% of people with HIV cannot achieve an UVL due to a range of reasons. Some of these include genetics, complex treatment resistance factors, immuno-compromised systems or various multi-morbidity health conditions. There are also times during a positive person’s life where they cannot maintain an UVL.

The reasons for a detectable viral load are:

  • not on antiretroviral treatment
  • developing resistance
  • recently commenced treatment
  • experienced a viral blip
  • cannot achieve undectable viral load


Positive Life Treatment Officers 1800 245 677

If you are HIV positive and have any questions about HIV or HCV and sex, please call one of our registered nurses on (02) 9206-2177.

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