CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors. A physical exam will be done. If you have risk factors for HIV or the doctor suspects you may be infected with the virus, tests can be taken. Since HIV infection can exist without any symptoms, it is important to be tested. Testing is especially important if you are engaged in behavior that increases your risk for infection, such as unprotected sex or drug use.

HIV tests include:

  • Rapid testing through a saliva test. Results can be ready within a half hour.
  • ELISA or Western blot tests—Blood tests to determine if the immune system has recognized the HIV virus.
  • HIV RNA assay—To detect the HIV virus itself.

Blood tests are the only way to be absolutely sure of the diagnosis. These tests will need to be done even if a rapid test is positive. A correct diagnosis is important because it will start the treatment process.

HIV can progress to AIDS. The presence of AIDS is suggested if:

  • A type of white blood cell called helper T cells drop below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
  • Helper T cells are less than 14% of all lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
  • Certain illnesses are present, such as Kaposi sarcoma or a pneumocystis pneumonia. These illnesses only occur with compromised immune systems.
PreviousNext

References:

AIDS diagnosis. UCSF Medical Center website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 10, 2016.
A guide to primary care of people with HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Health and Human Services website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 10, 2016.
HIV basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 6, 2016. Accessed August 10, 2016.
HIV infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114424/HIV-infection. Updated September 19, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 8/10/2016

 

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000