You may feel a little overwhelmed when you first begin treatment for your HIV disease. During your first appointment, your healthcare provider should ask you questions about your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and order various medical tests. This is also a good time to ask all of the questions you may have about living with HIV and various treatment options available to you.
- The initial medical tests your provider may order will give a better understanding of how the HIV virus is affecting your immune system. Two of the most important tests will be a CD4 count and a viral load test. You may also take a drug resistance test to determine the best medication options for you. The results of all of these tests will provide a baseline measurement for future tests.
Your provider may also order some other tests:
- Complete blood count
- Blood chemistry profile (including liver and kidney function tests)
- Tests for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Tests for other infections, such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, or toxoplasmosis
- An HLA-B*5701 test: Checks to see if you have a sensitivity to a specific HIV medication (abacavir) and should avoid taking it.
- Coreceptor tropism assay: Checks to see if a specific type of HIV medication is appropriate for you. This test is usually used only if your body has shown resistance to other medications.