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

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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
Losing Hope (blog) (20 comments)

You Can't Hurry Love (14 comments)

I Watched Charlie Sheen on The Dr. Oz Show So You Don't Have To (blog) (14 comments)

Charlie Sheen S&%ts On 30 Years of AIDS Activism (blog) (13 comments)

Remember Their Names: World AIDS Day 2015 (blog) (12 comments)

Prudential to Offer Individual Life Insurance to People With HIV (7 comments)
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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:
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.

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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