Blood gases

When and why

A blood gas test assesses whether the body is short of oxygen and is part of the investigation into symptoms of breathlessness, cough, and fever.

A small sample of blood is taken from an artery either at the wrist or in the groin where a pulse can be felt. This procedure can cause some pain and discomfort, but the use of a local anaesthetic should reduce this.

How it will help

The result reflects how the lungs are functioning and gives an indication of the severity of underlying problems. This information helps in assessing problem severity and deciding the course of treatment.

Taking blood gases is not always necessary. In many situations (e.g. in initial assessment and routine monitoring) it is being replaced by use of a pulse oximeter, that involves attaching a probe to a finger and measuring the level of oxygen saturation in the blood. The advantage of a pulse oximeter is that it is simple and non-invasive. Unfortunately, it does not provide as much information as does an arterial blood gas analysis.

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 It may have been superseded by more recent developments.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.