These are the tortured CD4 cells infected with HIV. As the virus integrates its own DNA into the genes of the CD4 cell, it becomes a factory for HIV, making more of the virus. Much like the servants created by the White Walkers in Game of Thrones, the blue “4” inlayed on a red cross represents the tormented CD4 cells forced to do the bidding of the virus. QVOA refers to Quantitative Viral Outgrowth Assay, a technical assay used to determine if these cells are truly infectious or not. If you want to learn more about, QVOA, stay tuned. We will be blogging about the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of QVOA and other assays aimed at measuring how much hidden HIV exists even when a person living with HIV is taking medication and has an undetectable viral load in the blood.