Having regular health checks informs you about how well your treatments are working and give early warnings about changes in your health.
Most people with HIV are monitored by general practitioners (GPs) with expertise in treating people with HIV.
You need to keep an eye on your viral load, CD4 counts, pap smear (women), sexually transmissible infections, your liver health (especially if you also have hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C), your general health and your dental health.
Viral load and CD4 count
‘Viral load’ describes the amount of HIV in your bloodstream. CD4 cells are a critical part of your immune system which are destroyed by HIV. Together, the viral load test and CD4 counts can show:
- The level of activity of HIV in your bloodstream;
- The level of damage, if any, to your immune system; and
- If your treatments are working, and whether it may be necessary to change treatments