Tests are used to diagnose HIV (to show whether someone has HIV or not). Other tests, including CD4 count and viral load, are used to assess the health of someone who is HIV positive, or can look at the health of other parts of the body, which may be affected by HIV or other conditions. Some tests use blood samples, but tests can also involve giving a urine or stool sample, or having a scan or X-ray.

Testing and health monitoring: latest news

Testing and health monitoring resources

  • Undetectable viral load

    If your viral load result is undetectable, there is only a little HIV in the body. The aim of HIV treatment is to have an...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Better off knowing

    The sooner you know you have HIV, the sooner you can get the medical care you need. If you know you have HIV, you can...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Liver function tests

    People living with HIV should have regular blood tests to monitor liver function.The liver plays an important role in processing drugs used to treat HIV...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • GPs and primary care

    Many GPs offer services which are not available at your HIV clinic.To access a GP you must be registered as their patient.You don't have to...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV clinic services

    It’s useful to prepare questions before seeing your doctor.Blood tests are an essential part of HIV care.Your HIV doctor may refer you to see other...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • A long life with HIV

    This booklet provides information on living well with HIV as you get older. ...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Other health issues

    As you get older, it’s even more important to regularly attend clinic appointments and stay in touch with your healthcare providers. Your HIV clinic appointments will include...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Blood problems and HIV

    People living with HIV who have a low CD4 count sometimes also have low levels of other blood cells.Some of these problems may be caused...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • CD4 cell counts

    CD4 cell counts give an indication of the health of your immune system.Your CD4 cell count should go up when you take HIV treatment.Monitoring CD4...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Viral load

    Effective HIV treatment results in a fall in viral loadAn undetectable viral load is the aim of HIV treatment.People who are taking effective HIV treatment...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Bone problems and HIV

    When your bones are thinner, a trip or fall can result in a broken bone. Exercise and other lifestyle changes are good for your bones. People aged 50+ and...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Other blood tests

    Every time you visit your clinic for a check-up you’ll have some blood tests. As well as being used to monitor your CD4 cell count and viral...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • CD4, viral load & other tests

    This booklet provides information on tests used to monitor health, including CD4 counts and viral load testing. ...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Chronic kidney disease and HIV

    HIV may contribute to kidney disease but the two most common causes are diabetes and high blood pressure.Lifestyle changes can help keep kidney disease under control.Your HIV...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Type 2 diabetes and HIV

    Changes to your lifestyle can reduce your risk of diabetes.Diabetes requires frequent monitoring and can have serious consequences if left untreated. Rates of diabetes are higher in people...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • CD4 and viral load

    It’s important for all people with HIV to have regular blood tests. The two most important blood tests are for CD4 and viral load.CD4 and...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Health checks

    Staff at your HIV clinic use various tests to keep an eye on your health. Many of these tests are done on samples of your...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Testing

    HIV testing in the UK is free, voluntary and confidential. You can be tested at an NHS sexual health clinic, a GP surgery or a...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Cholesterol

    Excess cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.Diet, exercise and smoking all have an impact on cholesterol levels.Some anti-HIV drugs may raise cholesterol levels....

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sexual health check-ups

    Looking after your sexual health is important for anyone, but particularly so if you are living with HIV. If you are sexually active, it is important to have...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Diagnosed with HIV at a low CD4 count

    NAM's factsheet on being diagnosed with HIV when already at a low CD4 cell count...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Information for people recently diagnosed with HIV

    With the right treatment and care people with HIV live long and healthy lives.You may experience many different emotions when you first find out you...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV testing

    HIV tests are available in lots of healthcare settings. Home HIV testing is also available.Laboratory tests are the most accurate but rapid tests can be...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Home HIV testing

    Self-sampling and self-testing are new options for taking an HIV test.You don't need to see a doctor or nurse to use home testing kits.HIV tests...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Monitoring the health of your child

    Your child will have regular clinic appointments, generally every three to four months. These visits usually involve a number of tests, to see whether HIV is affecting their...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV testing

    It is very important that children born to women living with HIV are tested for HIV. Ideally, this should happen at birth (see below). But if this...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV testing technologies

    This briefing paper, produced by NAM for HIV Prevention England, provides an overview of HIV diagnostic tests for people planning, commissioning or providing HIV prevention...

    From: HIV prevention briefing papers

  • Health checks for HIV

    To protect your immune system and maintain your health and wellbeing, it is recommended that you have regular medical monitoring at an HIV specialist centre (this is often...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Other health checks and care

    If you are over 50, like all women in the UK, you should be called for a breast screen (mammogram) every three years to check for the...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Clinics & support

    Most of us have our HIV monitored and treated at a specialist hospital clinic. We are usually treated as outpatients - in other words, we...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Health issues

    If you are ‘HIV positive’ this means that you have a virus called HIV in your body. It doesn’t mean that you are ill, or that...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Monitoring the safety and effectiveness of HIV treatment

    Before you start taking anti-HIV drugs, or if you need to switch to a new combination, you should have a number of blood tests. To help make sure...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • European test finder

    Find out where you can have a test for HIV, hepatitis or other sexually transmitted infections across Europe....

    From: European test finder

  • HIV testing

    Current approaches to HIV testing are to make it a normal rather than exceptional medical event, for it to be offered in a wide range...

    From: HIV transmission & testing

    Information level Level 4
  • High blood pressure

    You should have your blood pressure monitored regularly as part of your HIV care.HIV drugs can interact with other medicines to affect blood pressure.Blood pressure...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Monitoring the immune system

    Information on medical tests, including CD4 cell counts, viral load measurements, and procedures carried out for medical problems commonly experienced by HIV-positive people....

    From: HIV treatments directory

    Information level Level 4
  • A to Z of tests

    A list of medical tests and procedures for problems commonly encountered by HIV-positive people in the UK, detailing what they involve, and when and why...

    From: HIV treatments directory

    Information level Level 4

Testing and health monitoring features

Testing and health monitoring in your own words

Testing and health monitoring news from aidsmap

More news

Testing and health monitoring news selected from other sources

  • FDA Approves First Throat and Rectal Tests for Detecting Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on May 23 that it had cleared the Aptima Combo 2 Assay and Xpert CT/NG to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea by using throat and rectum samples, potentially making it easier for physicians and public health programs to diagnose and treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are often undertreated for lack of testing in those areas.

    02 June 2019 | The Body Pro
  • Churches can help increase HIV testing in South African men

    Religious leaders can play a critical role in reaching hard-to-reach groups with HIV testing, including men and first-time testers.

    21 May 2019 | Avert
  • Thailand: Self-test kits for HIV now available at pharmacies

    Thanks to the latest move by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people no longer have to visit a medical centre to undergo an HIV test. If they are worried that they may be infected, people can just buy a self-test kit from a pharmacy and check on their own.

    23 April 2019 | The Nation
  • US: The Porn Industry Is Rethinking How It Works With HIV Positive Performers

    In late January, tucked away in a fluorescent-lit conference room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, dozens of porn industry insiders gathered for a panel on the latest in HIV research.It was a lightning rod for industry debates around HIV, sex worker rights, and homophobia because it raised the possibility of introducing a testing system that meets the needs of performers with HIV.

    27 March 2019 | Jezebel
  • CROI 2019: Interventions raise men’s HIV testing rates

    A financial incentive as small as a $3 voucher for food dramatically increases HIV testing in areas with high HIV infection rates but low rates of testing, researchers said here. In places where HIV testing and linkage to care among men remain low while new infections among women and deaths from HIV among men remain high, scaling up the use of such small incentives may be an effective tool in increasing the number of people who know their HIV status, Hae-Young Kim of the Africa Health Research Institute said.

    14 March 2019 | Science Speaks
  • HIV Hidden in Patients' Cells Can Now Be Accurately Measured

    Researchers can now quickly and accurately count a hidden, inactive form of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that lurks in patients' cells. This version of HIV embeds into cells' genomes and can persist despite otherwise successful therapies - thwarting attempts to cure the infection.

    31 January 2019 | Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • For Our Stable HIV Patients, Why Are We Still Sending All These Lab Tests So Often?

    Do the guidelines for laboratory monitoring still make sense when our HIV treatments have become so safe and effective?

    29 January 2019 | NEJM Journal Watch
  • New York State May Soon Finally Eliminate Explicit Consent From HIV Testing in Care Settings

    Most of the HIV advocacy community in New York City and the state at large now agree that the current law still obstructs testing for health providers -- largely because they find it awkward asking patients if they can test for HIV.

    30 November 2018 | The Body
  • Australia's first HIV home-testing kit gets tick of approval

    Australia's first HIV home-testing kit has been approved by the regulator, in a move that has been welcomed by health advocates as a key weapon in the fight to eradicate the virus.

    29 November 2018 | Sydney Morning Herald
  • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Issues Draft Recommendation Statements on HIV Screening and Prevention

    Based on its review of the evidence, the Task Force recommends that clinicians screen everyone ages 15 to 65 years and all pregnant women for HIV. In a separate draft recommendation, the Task Force recommends that clinicians offer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—a daily pill that helps prevent HIV—to people at high risk of HIV.

    20 November 2018 | US Preventive Services Task Force
More news

Our information levels explained

  • Short and simple introductions to key HIV topics, sometimes illustrated with pictures.
  • Expands on the previous level, but also written in easy-to-understand plain language.
  • More detailed information, likely to include medical and scientific language.
  • Detailed, comprehensive information, using medical and specialised language.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.