What can I expect from my doctor?

During your first appointment your doctor will ask you questions, examine you, take a blood sample, and do some other tests. Your doctor also may do a skin test for tuberculosis and give you some immunizations (shots).

Tell your doctor about any health problems you are having so that you can get treatment. You also should ask your doctor any questions you have about HIV or AIDS, such as

  • what to do if your medicine makes you sick
  • where to get help for quitting smoking or using drugs
  • how to create a healthier diet how to minimize the chance that you will spread HIV to your partners

Your blood sample is used for many tests, including the CD4 cell count and viral load. Your CD4 cell count tells you how many CD4 cells you have in your blood. If you are getting treatment, your CD4 cell counts indicate how well it is working. If your CD4 cell count rises, your body is better able to fight infection. Viral load testing measures the amount of HIV in your blood. Your viral load helps predict what will happen next with your HIV infection if you don’t get treatment.

Keep your follow-up appointments with your doctor. At these appointments you and your doctor will talk about your test results, and he or she may prescribe medicine for you.