With viral load, the lower the better. Data presented at the XI International AIDS Conference in Vancouver in July 1996 showed that a viral load >10,000 is an accurate predictor of progression. As you might expect, the treatment objective is to get the virus to undetectable levels and keep them there. If one's viral load were to start going up, it would indicate that one's virus is becoming resistant to one's existing anti-HIV drugs.
Swings in viral load are not as shocking as they may seem: A change is not considered significant unless the next count it is > one log different (with a log being a decimal point). [For example, if you had a viral load of 100,000 one time: a log change would be a new viral count of 1,000,000 or greater; or 10,000 or less.] As a final FYI: Tom labels his viral load "HIV RNA" because that is the more precise name of the test.
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