Just Found Out? : What lab tests should I take? - by Staff

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Back to home » HIV 101 » Just Found Out?

Table of Contents



Just Found Out?

Why me?

Where can I go for support?

Will I die?

Who do I tell?

Who will want me?

What's happening to my body?

How do I get the care I need?

What lab tests should I take?

Will treatment work?

Will I start treatment?

HIV Clinics for Teens

 
What You're Talking About
It's Time for a TV Dramedy Series About Life With HIV (22 comments)

AHF Campaigns Against PrEP as a 'Public Health Intervention' (10 comments)

Partial Disclosure (blog) (8 comments)

True Story - An essay by a gay journalist and author who is tired of living in fear of HIV (8 comments)

Health Care is a Human Right (7 comments)

The WHO's Unwise Recommendation for Gay Men (blog) (7 comments)
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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What lab tests should I take?

by Staff

Once you've tested positive and found the right doctor, be sure to make and keep regular appointments—usually every three months if you’re on meds. At each visit, your doctor will want to take a small amount of blood and run it through some tests.

First, a word of warning: Don't obsess over the numbers. A lab result does not predict your entire physical well-being, nor should it be allowed to.

Here are four lab tests to get right away—and a few more to ask your doctor about:
 
RECOMMENDED EVERY 3-6 MONTHS
CD4 count CD4 cells (a.k.a. T cells) are the cells in your body that HIV attacks. Your CD4 count is a good indicator of how much HIV has hurt your immune system; the higher the number, the better. This test, along with the viral load test (see below), will help you and your doctor decide if you should start taking HIV meds.

viral load This test measures how much HIV is in your blood; the less, the better. “Undetectable,” meaning too little for the test to find, is best.

complete blood count This counts your red and white blood cells and platelets to check for anemia or bleeding disorders.

chem-screen Major  organs, muscles and bones come under scrutiny with this group of tests, with a focus on signs of liver damage and cholesterol levels.

ALSO ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT TESTS FOR THESE
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Chronic hepatitis B or C, gonorrhea, syphilis and other bugs can cause your HIV to flare up. Some STDs also increase the risk of passing the virus along.

hormones Fatigue, depression and other HIV-related symptoms may be aggravated by hormonal problems.

drug resistance These help measure resistance that HIVers may have built up against one HIV med or another—rookies don't usually need them. But in any case, wait till you're ready to start treatment.



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