Frequency of testing
If you're not on treatment
Even if your CD4 cell count is above 500, it’s a good idea to go to your HIV clinic every three to six months for a CD4 cell count and viral-load test. Make sure you go back promptly for your results.
If your CD4 cell count is between 500 and 350, you’ll need to go to your clinic every three months or so for tests. If your CD4 cell count is lower, you will need to discuss with your doctor starting HIV treatment and you may be asked to come to the clinic for tests every two months or monthly.
If you're about to start treatment
You should be given a ‘baseline’ CD4 cell count and two viral-load measurements close together shortly before starting treatment. You and your doctors will then be able to assess how effective your treatment has been, by looking at how much your viral load has fallen and your CD4 cell count has risen.
If you're on treatment
You should have your viral load and CD4 cell count measured a month after starting treatment and then about three months after that.
Subsequent CD4 cell counts and viral-load tests should be carried out every ten to twelve weeks. Additional tests might be needed if you feel unwell or develop symptoms.
If your viral load increases whilst you are on treatment, you should have a further test within a week or two to confirm this, and your CD4 cell count should be monitored at the same time to see if there’s been a fall.