Study: High match between self-reported viral load and clinic-recorded viral load in PLWH in Great Britain
According to a study published in HIV Medicine there is a high accuracy of a self-report of undetectable VL among people receiving ART in the UK.
The study took place in the United Kingdom and involved 2678 people receiving antiretroviral treatment. Over two-thirds (68%) of participants were in the MSM risk group, 68% were white and the mean age was 46 years.
All participants completed a questionnaire enquiring if their viral load was undetectable (below 50 copies/ml), detectable (above 50 copies/ml) or don’t know and were asked to report their CD4 cell level. As a result, overall match between self-reported viral load and clinic-recorded viral load was 84%.
Viral load is a key factor not only used to monitor the health of people living with HIV but also, according to several major studies, associated with infectiousness.
“The accuracy of reporting an undetectable VL [viral load] by HIV-positive individuals on ART is directly relevant to their HIV-negative sexual partners, if the HIV-positive partner’s VL influences decision-making around condom use,” comment the authors. “The high level of accuracy of a self-reported undetectable viral load is encouraging, as this implies that decisions to have condomless sex on this basis will generally be well informed,” researchers stated.