for Veterans and the Public
Monitor your health
Once you have been diagnosed with HIV, you need to pay closer attention to your health than you did before.
You can keep track of your immune system in two ways. First, have regular lab tests done. Lab tests often can show signs of illness before you have any noticeable symptoms.
Second, listen to what your body is telling you, and be on the alert for signs that something isn't right. Note any change in your health--good or bad. And don't be afraid to call a doctor.
Have regular lab tests
Your medical provider will use laboratory tests to check your health. Some of these tests will be done soon after you learn you are HIV positive.
The lab tests look at several things:
- how well your immune system is functioning
- how well your medications are controlling the HIV (or, if you are not taking HIV medications, how rapidly HIV is progressing)
- certain basic body functions (tests look at your kidneys, liver, cholesterol, and blood cells)
- whether you have other diseases that are associated with HIV
For your first few doctor visits, be prepared to have a lot of blood drawn. Don't worry. You are not going to have so much blood drawn at every appointment.
For information on specific tests, go to the Understanding Laboratory Tests page in this section.