Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection - Exams and Tests

Ongoing tests

When you have HIV, two tests are done regularly to see how much of the virus is in your blood (viral load) and how the virus is affecting your immune system:

  • CD4+ cell counts provide information about the health of your immune system.
  • Viral load measures the amount of HIV in your blood.

The results of these tests may help you make decisions about starting treatment or switching to new medicines if the ones you are taking aren't helping.

Testing for drug resistance

HIV often changes or mutates in the body. Sometimes these changes make the virus resistant to certain medicines. Then the medicine no longer works.

Medical experts recommend testing the blood of everyone diagnosed with HIV to look for this drug resistance.1 This information helps your doctor know what medicines to use.

You also may be tested for drug resistance when:

  • You are ready to begin treatment.
  • You've been having treatment and your viral load numbers stop going down.
  • You've been having treatment and your viral load numbers become detectable after not being detectable.

How is AIDS diagnosed?

AIDS is the last and most severe stage of HIV infection. It is diagnosed if the results of your test show that you have:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
1 | 2 | 3
1 | 2 | 3
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

misconception
How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
 
research
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
 
HIV AIDS Screening
Slideshow
man opening condom wrapper
Quiz
 
HIV AIDS Treatment
Feature
Discrimination Stigma
Feature
 
Treatment Side Effects
Feature
grilled chicken and vegetables
Article
 
obese man standing on scale
Article
cold sore
Article