Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Medical History and Physical Exam for HIV Infection
When you are first diagnosed with
HIV, your doctor will check your current health
status. He or she will ask questions about your current symptoms and past
health to find out whether you have had any HIV-related illnesses, whether you
have medicine allergies, whether your immunizations are up-to-date, and whether
you have ever been hospitalized for illness or surgery.
the tests a doctor does during the initial exam will be repeated during regular
checkups to monitor changes in your health.
You can help your doctor diagnose
and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following
Your doctor will do a complete
physical exam to find out your present state of health. This may include the
The medical history and physical exam are done right
after a person has been diagnosed with HIV infection (a positive
ELISA test and a positive
Western blot assay or other test).
A thorough physical exam will
provide information about your present state of health. Your doctor will talk to you about the benefits and risks of starting treatment for HIV.
During later visits,
your doctor will do tests, such as viral load and CD4+ cell count, to see whether your health status is
These exams will be
done during regular follow-up exams or if specific symptoms develop.
The medical history and physical exam may
provide the following results.
No abnormalities are found. After the initial workup, talk
to your doctor to decide how often to schedule follow-up exams.
If you do not have symptoms but you have a high CD4+ cell
count and a low viral load, your doctor will probably recommend that you have
follow-up exams at least every 6 months or sooner if you develop symptoms of
Signs of illness are found. Follow-up and treatment will
depend on the specific problem.
Your family medicine physician or
internist may not be able to diagnose and treat all the problems that can be
caused by HIV infection. Your doctor may refer you to another doctor who
specializes in conditions that affect different body systems. Before you make
an appointment with a specialist, find out whether he or she has experience
treating people who have HIV-related illnesses.
HIV may require treatment by the following doctors:
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPeter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofMay 24, 2016
Current as of:
May 24, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.