Health and Treatments


4.1   Monitoring your health

4.2   Blood tests

4.3   Treatments

4.4   Complementary therapies

4.1 Monitoring your health

Working with your doctor to stay healthy and avoid infections is an important part of living with HIV. This means having regular checks and blood tests four to six times a year. Regular checks are very important so your doctor can note any changes in your health and advise you on what to do.

Regular visits to the dentist are also recommended to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

4.2 Blood tests

There are two blood tests that your doctor will order at each visit to see how HIV is affecting your immune system:

Viral load test

Viral load refers to the amount of HIV that is in your blood. HIV is constantly multiplying. By measuring the amount of HIV in your blood, your doctor can tell how quickly the virus is multiplying.

The higher the viral load, the faster HIV is multiplying, and the greater the risk of damage to your immune system.

CD4 count

HIV destroys the CD4 cells in your immune system. By measuring the number of CD4 cells in your blood, your doctor can tell how much damage HIV has done to your immune system.

These tests will give you and your doctor a picture of how HIV is progressing in your body and help you decide when to start treatment.

If you are on HIV treatment, the tests also help monitor how the treatment is working.

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