The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors, and do a physical exam. If you have risk factors for
or the doctor suspects you may be infected, he can order a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
HIV tests include:
—This test is used to detect HIV infection. If an ELISA test is positive, the Western blot test is usually performed to confirm the diagnosis. The ELISA test may be negative if you were recently infected with HIV. Many people with HIV (95%) will have a positive test within three months of the time they became infected. Most people with HIV (99%) will have a positive test within six months. If an ELISA test is negative, but you think you may have HIV, get tested again in 1-3 months.
—This test is very specific at identifying HIV. It is used to confirm a positive ELISA test result.
OraQuick Rapid HIV-1 antibody test—This is a preliminary test using saliva. This test should be confirmed by an ELISA test.
CD4+T cell count—This is a blood test used to evaluate the status of your immune system.
Viral load test—This is a test to measure the amount of HIV in your blood.
Other blood tests—If you are infected with HIV, additional blood tests may be ordered to check for other blood-borne infections.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Quality Assurance Guidelines for Testing Using the OraQuick Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test.
Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2003.
HIV/AIDS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Updated September 2008. Accessed September 25, 2008.
HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
. Accessed September 25, 2008.
Noble J, Greene HL.
Textbook of Primary Care Medicine
. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 2000.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a