Viral load values can fluctuate wildy pre and post treatment. I know mine sure did. Knowing what stage of fibrosis you are and your genotype as well as any other possible medical conditions as well as your overall health might offer more useful responses.
This is a cut and paste from web MD but it is one that enabled me to finally understand what a viral load is:
"Viral load is [the number of] viral particles floating in the blood. These are copies of the genetic material of the virus circulating through the body"
It goes on to contrast between a High Viral Load and Low Viral Load? Anything over 800,000 IU/mL is high. Anything under that is low viral load … Those with low viral load have a better chance of responding to treatment."
The thing about viral load is that it does not in and of itself reflect the damage to your liver. In my view one interpretation I liked since I only cared about my viral load while I was treating is the view that it is an indicator to how we are responding to treatment meds.
I like the way one doctor contrasts viral load with HCV and HIV in the last paragraph since in the beginning I first did not appreciate the very vast distinction. Ha ha I remember when I was first diagnosed (in 2003) how I said something to the effect that I am HCV positive and someone really chewed me a new one (I least I did not say I have "full blown HCV,")
Am I Getting Sicker if My Viral Load Is Rising?
Dr. Anania: Not necessarily. With HCV, viral burden in hepatitis C does not necessarily predict the natural history of clinical disease. And therefore, patients need to understand that we use that measurement to help us guide therapy and response to therapy. We use it in conjunction with other types of laboratory data -- liver enzymes, liver biopsies sometimes, and viral genotype. Taken all together, these tests give us a snapshot of what is going on. But viral load numbers do not predict disease.
Dr. Pearlman: Unlike HIV, HCV viral copies do not directly affect a patient's prognosis and how fast disease is progressing in the liver. Remember, we are measuring blood levels, not what is happening in liver cells. HIV viral load does have a lot to do with quicker progression to AIDS. But HCV viral load does not tell you how fast hepatitis is progressing.
Hi, ID has given you great information. If I were you I would find a Hepatologist, get a liver biopsy to see what grade and stage your liver is. That would be the first thing. In my case, my blood work did not indicate how sick I was. I hope you can find some good answers Best wishes Dee
As others have said, viral loads can fluctuate daily and do not correlate with the amount of liver damage one may or may not have. The next step is imaging to look at the liver and other organs in the abdomen, possibly a colonoscopy and/or endoscopy, and a liver biopsy to definitively know the current status of the health of your liver.
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