Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors. A physical exam will be done. If you have risk factors for HIV or the doctor suspects you may be infected with the virus, a test can be ordered. Since HIV infection can exist without any symptoms, it is important to be tested. Testing is especially important if you are engaged in behavior that increases your risk for infection, such as unprotected sex or drug use. HIV tests include:

  • Rapid testing through a saliva test. Results can be ready within a half hour.
  • ELISA or Western blot tests—Blood tests to determine if the immune system has recognized the HIV virus.
  • HIV RNA assay—To detect the HIV virus itself.
Blood tests are the only way to be absolutely sure of the diagnosis. These tests will need to be done even if a rapid test is positive. A correct diagnosis is important because it will start the treatment process.HIV can progress to AIDS. The presence of AIDS is suggested if:
  • A type of white blood cell called helper T cells drop below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
  • Helper T cells are less than 14% of all lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
  • Certain illnesses are present, such as Kaposi sarcoma or a pneumocystis pneumonia. These illnesses only occur with compromised immune systems.


leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Water Before Meals May Promote Weight Loss
August 2015

A randomized trial found that drinking water before main meals led to higher weight loss than those who were asked to imagine a full stomach before main meals. Water preloading is believed to help create a feeling of fullness or satiety during the meal, which may help curb overeating.

dot separator
previous editions

Fecal Transplants Induce Ulcerative Colitis Remission
July 2015

Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight
June 2015

Mindful Meditation May Reduce Symptoms and Complications of Insomnia
May 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »