What Do Blood Tests Show
Blood tests show whether the levels of different substances in your blood fall within a normal range.
For many blood substances, the normal range is the range of levels seen in 95 percent of healthy people in a certain group. For many tests, normal ranges vary depending on your age, gender, race, and other factors.
Your blood test results may fall outside the normal range for many reasons. Abnormal results might be a sign of a disorder or disease. Other factorssuch as diet, menstrual cycle, physical activity level, alcohol intake, and medicines also can cause abnormal results.
Your doctor should discuss any unusual or abnormal blood test results with you. These results may or may not suggest a health problem.
Many diseases and medical problems cant be diagnosed with blood tests alone. However, blood tests can help you and your doctor learn more about your health. Blood tests also can help find potential problems early, when treatments or lifestyle changes may work best.
When To Get Tested
Seek medical advice immediately if you think there’s a chance you could have HIV. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming seriously ill.
Some HIV tests may need to be repeated 1-3 months after exposure to HIV infection, but you should not wait this long to seek help.
A GP or a sexual health professional can talk to you about having a test and discuss whether you should take emergency HIV medicine.
Anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis may stop you becoming infected if taken within 72 hours of being exposed to the virus.
A Negative Test Result Is Usually Good News
Negative is not the same as bad when it comes to blood tests. A negative result means that the test did not detect what it was seeking, whether it was a disease marker or a risk factor for a health condition. When youve had a blood test to check for an infectious disease an interferon gamma release assay for tuberculosis, for example getting back a negative result is good news it means the test found no evidence of an infection.
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Common Health Problems Blood Tests Can Help Identify
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Viral Load And Cd4 Levels
When someone contracts HIV, the virus begins to take over specific cells in the immune system, called CD4 cells.
When the CD4 cells replicate, the HIV cells inside them also replicate. HIV hijacks the cellular machinery of CD4 cells to reproduce and shed more HIV, which means the viral load increases.
As the HIV viral load increases, the number of healthy CD4 cells decreases as they are destroyed creating HIV copies.
Treatment aims to produce a low viral load and a high CD4 count. When a person has achieved this, their HIV is well controlled.
A low or undetectable viral load means the virus is not progressing. It also means that HIV is not attacking the immune system as actively. This gives the immune system the chance to rebuild its healthy cell count. As a result, the number of CD4 cells in the persons body will increase as their viral falls.
A doctor will usually test a persons viral levels when they first diagnose HIV. Doctors will recommend an HIV test if someone presents symptoms of HIV or if they may have come into contact with the virus.
People living with HIV will have repeat viral load tests throughout their lives to monitor the condition. They should get tested once every 3 to 4 months during treatment.
Additionally, a person should get tested due to any alteration in their medication or if their symptoms change.
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What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you don’t have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but it’s too soon to tell. It can take a few weeks for HIV antibodies and antigens to show up in your body. If your result is negative, your health care provider may order additional HIV tests at a later date.
If your result is positive, you will get a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. If both tests are positive, it means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV, the disease can be effectively controlled with medicine. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can significantly reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. People with HIV who take ART before the disease gets too advanced can live long, healthy lives. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to see your health care provider regularly.
Why Do I Need An Immunoglobulins Blood Test
You may need this test if your health care provider thinks your immunoglobulin levels might be too low or too high.
Symptoms of levels that are too low include:
- Frequent and/or unusual bacterial or viral infections
- Lung infections
- Family history of immunodeficiency
If your immunoglobulin levels are too high, it may be a sign of an autoimmune disease, a chronic illness, an infection, or a type of cancer. Symptoms of these conditions vary greatly. Your health care provider may use information from your physical exam, medical history, and/or other tests to see if you are at risk for one of these diseases.
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Letting Partners Know You Have Hiv
If you have just been diagnosed with HIV, it will likely be a difficult time. You might still be struggling to come to terms with diagnosis.
During this time, it is important to let any sexual or injecting partners know they may have been exposed to HIV as soon as you can, so they can be tested and offered PEP if appropriate.
You do not have to do this alone. Your doctor or the Department of Health and Human Services Partner Notification Officers can help you through this process and ensure your identity is not revealed.. Both groups can provide information, support, and guidance for people living with HIV.
Importance Of Hiv Testing
If you have the virus, finding out quickly means you can start treatment right away so you can feel better and live a long, full life. You can also take steps so you don’t pass HIV to other people.
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What Is Hiv Testing
Several types of tests check your blood or other body fluids to see whether you’re infected. Most can’t spot HIV right away, because it takes time for your body to make antibodies or for enough of the virus to grow inside you.
Normal May Differ Between Men And Women
If you compare your blood test results with those of someone of the opposite sex, you may be surprised to find differences. For example, the normal reference range for the number of red blood cells in a complete blood count is between 5 million and 6 million cells per microliter for a man, but for women, its between 4 million and 5 million, according to the NHLBI.
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How Much Does The Test Cost
The cost of an HIV test is usually covered by insurance without a copay, although specific costs depend on a persons insurance coverage and where the test is performed. Check with your health plan and health care provider for specific cost details.
At-home HIV tests cost below $50. Health departments and community-based organizations may provide HIV self-test kits for free or at a reduced cost.
Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
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Who Will Know The Results Of My Testing
It depends on where you get your testing. Testing sites have different privacy rules. Ask about privacy rules at your testing site so you understand whether anyone else will know you got tested or see your results.
If you go to an anonymous test site, only you know the results. No written record of the test result is kept.
If you go to a confidential test site, the results will go in your medical record. Positive results are sent to the state or local health department. Your insurance company will have access to your results. Depending on the state you live in, your parent or guardian may be contacted.
How Often Should I Get Routine Blood Work
Your doctor will typically recommend that you get routine blood work at least once a year, around the same time as your yearly physical.
But this is the bare minimum. There are several major reasons you may want to get blood tests more often than that:
- Youre experiencing unusual, persistent symptoms. These could include anything from fatigue to abnormal weight gain to new pain.
- You want to optimize your health. Knowing levels of various blood components, such as HDL and LDL cholesterol, can allow you to tweak your diet or fitness plan to minimize unhealthy habits . This can also maximize the nutrients you put in your body and more.
- You want to reduce your risk of disease or complications. Regular blood tests can catch the warning signs of almost any disease early. Many heart, lung, and kidney conditions can be diagnosed using blood tests.
Talk to your doctor first if you want to get certain tests more often than once a year.
Some other tests that you may want include:
- enzyme markers if youre at risk for cancer or other conditions like liver cirrhosis, stroke, or celiac disease
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How Can I Get Tested
To get tested, you can:
- Ask your doctor to test you.
- Go to a local clinic or community health center.
- Go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources to find a testing center near you.
- Buy a test at a pharmacy and do the test at home.
Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.
Why Its Important To Test
If you have HIV, finding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto anyone else. The sooner you start treatment, the less likely you are to become seriously ill. People who are diagnosed early and get on effective treatment can expect to live a normal lifespan.
Once youre on effective treatment and your viral load is undetectable then you can’t pass the virus on to anyone else.
If you wait to test, the virus could do a lot of damage. There is a lot of support available for people who test positive.
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Diagnosing Hiv Infection & Aids
Doctors at NYU Langone diagnose human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV, a chronic viral infection that destroys certain infection-fighting white blood cells. If left untreated, HIV weakens the immune system, so the body is unable to fight infections and disease. When this occurs, HIV infection leads to a chronic, possibly life-threatening illness called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
HIV is transmitted through sex by sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment through contact with infected blood or through pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
A few weeks to three months after becoming infected with HIV, many people develop intense flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. They may also experience weight loss and night sweats during this initial phase. However, many people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms for 10 years or longer.
After the initial phase of an HIV infection, the disease moves into a period called clinical latency. This means the virus is developing but is producing few if any mild symptoms. Even when it causes no symptoms, the virus can be transmitted to others.
As HIV multiplies and destroys certain white blood cellsthe CD4 cells, which fight bacteria and virusesa person may develop symptoms of infection. These might include recurring fever, intense night sweats, and prolonged swelling of lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck. Sores in the mouth, anus, or genitals may also occur.
How Confidential Are Hiv Test Results
Your HIV status, like other medical conditions and test results, is protected by the HIPAA Privacy Rule and cannot be shared with friends, family, or employers without your written permission. Your HIV status may be shared with your healthcare providers who have a “need to know” in order to treat you. Also, in order to determine the incidence of HIV and to provide appropriate prevention and care services, all new cases of HIV are reported to state and local health departments.
Certain testing centers provide either anonymous or confidential HIV testing and counseling. You can also contact your state or local health department to find out where testing may be available.
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What Is It Used For
An HIV test is used to find out if you have been infected with HIV. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS . Most people with HIV dont have AIDS. People with AIDS have an extremely low number of immune cells and are at risk for life-threatening illnesses, including dangerous infections, a severe type of pneumonia, and certain cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma.
If HIV is found early, you can get medicines to protect your immune system. HIV medicines may prevent you from getting AIDS.
Where Can People Find More Information About Hiv Testing
There are several resources for people interested about the facts of HIV testing.
- The national HIV, STD, and hepatitis testing site Get Tested helps visitors find free, fast, and confidential testing.
The CDC web site is also an excellent source of information: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/testing.html.
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What Can A Blood Test Tell You 4 Common Blood Tests And What They Show
Are you considering getting a blood test but your not sure what type would be best for your needs? A blood test is one of the best ways to know more about what is going on with your body and physical well being.
Stop wondering what can a blood test tell you?, and find the best blood test type for you. Know more about yourself and your health by learning more about what blood tests you should get.
What Are The Different Types Of Hiv Testing
There are three main types of HIV tests: antibody tests, RNA tests, and a combination test that detects both antibodies and viral protein called p24 . All tests are designed to detect HIV-1, which is the type of HIV in the United States. Some antibody tests and the combination test can also detect HIV-2 infections, which are usually limited to West Africa. No test is perfect tests may be falsely positive or falsely negative or impossible to interpret .
Positive test results are reportable to the health department in all 50 states and include the patients name. This information is then reported to the CDC so that the epidemiology and infection spread rates can be monitored. The names sent to the state remain confidential and will not be reported to employers, family members, or other such people. Some states allow anonymous testing in which the patients name is not recorded.
HIV antibody tests: HIV possesses many unique proteins on its surface and inside the virus itself. When someone is infected with HIV, their body produces proteins designed to tag the virus for elimination by the immune system. These proteins are called antibodies, and they are directed against the unique proteins of HIV. Unfortunately, these HIV antibodies do not eliminate the virus, but their presence serves as a marker to show that someone is infected with HIV. HIV antibody tests are the most commonly used tests to determine if someone has HIV.
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