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How do I know if I have HIV?

Getting tested for HIV 

To know if you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative you need to take an HIV test. Taking an HIV test is really easy. HIV tests are safe, reliable, and only require a drop of blood from your finger to measure your body’s response to HIV. You will get the result in a few minutes after the test.

What does my HIV test result mean?

If a test is positive, it means you are infected with HIV. People who have HIV in their bodies are often referred to as ‘HIV-positive’. Find out more about living long, healthy and full lives with HIV, here.

If the test is negative, it means that you are probably not infected. However, if you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the 2-4 weeks before your test, then you should get tested again in about 2-4 weeks. This is because the HIV test may not detect the virus in people who were just infected in the last 4 weeks.

Doctors and nurses say that if you are exposed up to 4 weeks ago you are still in the ‘window period’. What this means is that the HIV test may say you are HIV-negative when you may actually be HIV-positive. Make sure to talk to the healthcare provider giving you the test and let them know if you may be in your window period.

When should l get tested?

All sexually active people should be tested for HIV at least every 3 months.  If you have never had an HIV test, then you should get tested now.

Sometimes, we want to delay getting a test because we are nervous that the result will be positive. We all get scared sometimes and that’s normal. But having a test and knowing if you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative puts you in control of your life.

If the result is HIV positive, you can access counselling, support and the correct medical services, which mean you will lead a long and healthy life.

Knowing your HIV status allows you to make the best choices about your future health so that you remain well and prevent spreading the virus to others.

Where can I get an HIV test?

You can get tested for HIV at your nearest clinic. The nurse may ask you questions about your sex life as part of the test. Remember, you only need to provide the information you feel comfortable giving. Also, take a look at these resources for friendly service providers for men and for men who have sex with men near you.

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