New edition: CD4, viral load & other tests

Amelia Jones
Published: 15 March 2017

A new edition of our booklet CD4, viral load & other tests is now available online and in print through our patient information scheme. You can read it online at

CD4, viral load & other tests

The booklet provides information on tests you will have done at your HIV clinic to monitor your health. Some tests, like CD4 cell counts and viral load tests, check how HIV is affecting you and how well your HIV treatment is working. Other tests, like blood chemistry and blood pressure tests, assess your general health.

The first part of the booklet covers health monitoring and includes sections on:

The second part provides information on common tests and includes sections on:

What’s new in this edition?

Since the last edition of the booklet, the British HIV Association (BHIVA) has issued updated guidelines on the routine monitoring that people living with HIV should have, including a recommendation to reduce the frequency of CD4 cell count testing.

In addition, HIV treatment guidelines now recommend that all people living with HIV should start treatment as soon as possible, no matter what their CD4 count is. In the past, CD4 counts were used to guide decisions on when people should start treatment.

There has also been more research around HIV treatment, viral load and sexual transmission of HIV.

The new edition of the booklet has been updated to reflect these changes and updated guidelines.

NAM’s Patient Information Subscription Scheme

UK-based HIV and GUM clinics can order copies of CD4, viral load & other tests and all our other booklets, as well as leaflets in our series The basics, through our online portal as part of our patient information subscription.

To find out if your clinic is registered or for information on joining the scheme, please contact James at or call 020 7837 6988.

Thank you!

We would like to say a big thank you to the people involved in the production of CD4, viral load & other tests. In particular, we would like to thank our review panel for this booklet, which included: Professor Brian Angus, Infectious Diseases Consultant and Clinical Director, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Dr Gary Brook, Clinical Lead GUM/HIV, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust; Dr Marta Boffito, Consultant Physician/Reader, St Stephen's AIDS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Imperial College, London; Robin F and other people with HIV who contributed to the development of this booklet.

We are also grateful to Gilead Sciences, Janssen and Wandsworth Oasis for funding towards the production of this booklet. Our funders had no editorial input to the development of the booklet.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.