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How do you know if the drugs are working?

for Veterans and the Public

How do you know if the drugs are working?

After you've started taking medicine for your HIV, your health care provider will look at how much HIV virus is in your bloodstream (your viral load) to see how well the drug therapy is working. If the medicines are working, your viral load goes down. You will have less of the virus in your bloodstream. A very important goal of treatment is to reduce the viral load to "undetectable" levels, and to keep it there. "Undetectable" means the viral load is too low to measure using standard laboratory tests.

Other ways you and your provider can see if the drugs are working are:

  • Your CD4 count. This number should stay the same or go up if your drugs are working.
  • Your health checkups. Your treatment should help keep you healthy and help you fight off infections and diseases.