We are constantly developing new tests so please contact us with any requests. We hope to offer panels of PCR tests in the near future for your convenience.
HIV monitoring (HIV Viral Load)
One of the best ways to monitor the activity of HIV in an infected person is by measuring the number of HIV copies in a blood sample. This test is called a Viral Load. At Molecular Diagnostic Services to determine the Viral Load we request a 5 ml sample of blood collected in a lavender (purple) top blood collection tube. The test we use is a test internationally approved by the FDA. Studies have shown that the test we use detects all the known HIV 1 genotypes.
The result that we give is in HIV copies per ml although we will also give the result as a log value eg 1000 copies/ml is the same as 3.0 log/ml.
The test is extremely sensitive and is capable of detecting as few as 40 HIV copies/ml and as many as 10 million HIV copies/ml. Further, the test is not influenced by other pathogens or the drugs that you take.
The CD4+ cell is the cell that HIV infects and eventually destroys and is a good measure of your immune system. We can use the same blood sample that you send us for HIV Viral Load to measure CD4+ cell numbers. The result value that we give will be expressed as CD4+ cells/ul.
We can also use the same sample to measure your CD8 levels as well and express the CD4/CD8 values as a ratio.
HIV Drug Resistance:
There are currently some very effective drugs that are used to treat HIV. Unfortunately some situations arise and HIV develops resistance to these drugs. It is however possible to analyze the genetic material of the resistant HIV to determine which resistance mutations the virus has develeloped/acquired.A knowledge of these mutations can influence the choice of treatment options so such information is important for the scientific management of HIV.
We can perform an HIV drug resistance test using the same blood sample that was submitted for the HIV viral load and/or CD4 test.
As a general rule if the sample arrives the next day and is sent at room temperature it is fine for our analysis.