The goal of antiretroviral therapy is viral suppression. An elevated viral load suggests that a patient's treatment provision needs attention, such as adherence support. Repeated high viral loads for a patient who is receiving adherence support can be an indication to change the antiretroviral therapy regimen. Many countries have adopted viral load (VL) testing as the preferred approach to monitor patients' clinical response to ART and confirm treatment failure, and are in the process of scaling up VL testing capacity. Viral load testing can provide key information for clinicians to use when considering whether to switch patients to more expensive second- or third-line treatments, but requires appropriate interpretation and management.
On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, AIDSFree hosted a webinar on best practices for obtaining VL results and managing high results. Presentations highlighted maximizing the use of VL monitoring tools and results in Malawi; rapid VL scale up in Zimbabwe including processes for prioritized transmission of abnormal results and subsequent clinical management for optimal HIV outcomes; and how continuous quality improvement (CQI) was used to improve VL access and address key implementation challenges in VL monitoring in Uganda.
Webinar Q&A: Managing Viral Load Results (PDF 203 KB)