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Blood chemistry tests for HIV

for Veterans and the Public

Blood chemistry tests

Chemistry tests examine the levels of different elements and waste products in the blood and help determine how well different organs are functioning. Usually, the tests are divided into two panels:

  • Electrolyte tests (sometimes called "lytes") and kidney function--These tests help measure how well your kidneys are working, and measure the balance of fluids, acids, and sugar in your body. They include tests for sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and glucose.
  • Liver function tests (LFTs)--These tests measure whether your liver is being damaged. (Things that can damage the liver include viral hepatitis, certain medications, alcohol, and street drugs.) These tests measure alkaline phosphatase, ALT, AST, albumin, and bilirubin.

Blood chemistry tests are usually done at least a couple of times per year. It is important to have these done at baseline and while you are on HIV medications because some of the medications can cause kidney or liver abnormalities.