Prognosis vs. Diagnosis: Using the HIV Viral Load NAT Test

July 29th, 2011  |  Published in HIV Testing

Determining the Outlook and Treatment for an HIV Infection

The HIV viral load NAT test is a different kind of HIV test. Unlike the standard ELISA antibody test which diagnoses an infection, the HIV viral load NAT test is used post-diagnosis. Specifically, this test helps determine the prognosis of a positive HIV infection.

Basically, the HIV viral load NAT test determines the amount of virus present in the bloodstream. Upon infection, the HIV virus will reproduce within the body. This test, used in conjunction with the CD-4 cell count, helps determine the status of an infection. These tests are exceptionally useful in determining the appropriate route of treatment.

Furthermore, the measurement of nucleic acid can determine the prognosis of a patient’s infection. An initially high viral load shows that the virus is rapidly producing. A low viral load indicates that the HIV infection is not as active.

Lastly, changes in the viral load as specified through the HIV viral load NAT test can indicate a change in one’s health. A significant increase in the viral load can mean that HIV infection is worsening or the patient is developing a resistant to his or her medications. A decrease in the viral load points towards improvement and suppression of the virus.

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