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HIV > Working With Your Doctor: HIV

Goals of HIV Therapy

Your doctor is your partner in the fight against HIV. In the past, you may have avoided talking about personal matters. However, the more you can talk about your needs, the better your doctor can start you—and keep you—on a course of HIV therapy that works best for you.

Use a calendar to keep track of important dates that are significant to you and your HIV treatment. Most importantly, keep track of your lab results, like your CD4 count (how strong your immune system is) and your viral load (how much HIV is in your blood).

Important blood tests

CD4 count—Number of CD4 cells (immune system cells) in a sample of blood

HIV lowers your CD4 count, which makes it easier for you to get sick. A higher CD4 count is better. Ask your doctor to explain your test results.

Viral load—Amount of HIV in your blood

An undetectable viral load is your goal. If your viral load is low enough, it is called "undetectable."

Make healthy choices

Today’s HIV treatments are helping people live longer, better lives. You can choose actions that help keep you healthy.

  • Go for your regular checkups (it helps your doctor stay up to date on all your health concerns)
  • Stay on your positive path forward by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly
  • If drugs or alcohol are a problem, this is the time to seek help
  • Having a serious illness like HIV can be stressful. If your illness is causing emotional distress or adding to mental health issues you already have, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.

Talk to your doctor about the HIV services that may be available to you.