The only way to know your HIV status is to have an HIV Test.
Early diagnosis is crucial in preventing life-threatening health conditions and combating the spread of HIV. Knowing your HIV status will allow you to take steps to protect your health and the health of others.
Am I at risk?
Anyone can contract HIV; however a variety of HIV risk factors can increase your chances of becoming infected with HIV. Some risk factors increase your HIV risk more than others. You can not entirely eliminate risk, but you can do many things to lower your risk and protect yourself.
HIV/AIDS Risk Factors
Certain behaviors can increase your HIV risk. These are some of the most common risk factors:
- Having unprotected vaginal or anal sex with someone who is infected with HIV or whose HIV status you do notknow.
- Having many sexual partners.
- Having sex with a sex worker or an IV drug user.
- Sharing needles, syringes, or equipment used to prepare or inject drugs with someone who is HIV infected.
Other Possible HIV/AIDS Risk Factors
Other factors may also increase your HIV risk. For example, having sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs may lead to other risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex. Here are other potential HIV risk factors:
- Having another sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea. STDs may cause changes in tissue that make HIV transmission more likely.
- Having sex after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
When and Where to Go for HIV Test?
Most people develop detectable HIV antibodies within three months after infection, the average being 20 days. In rare cases, it can take 6-12 months. It is important to seek testing at a place that also provides counseling about HIV and AIDS. Counselors can answer questions about behavior that may put you at risk of contracting or transmitting HIV and suggest ways you can protect yourself and others in the future. They can also help you to understand the meaning of the test results and refer you to local AIDS-related resources.
PT Foundation offers anonymous and confidential testing at the CHCC – however if you cannot come to us, any government hospital offers free HIV testing.
Call us today at (03) 4051 3611 to schedule your anonymous and confidential HIV Screening.
What is the HIV Antibody Test?
When HIV enters the bloodstream, it begins to attack certain white blood cells known as CD4 cells. The immune system then produces antibodies to fight off infection. When you take an HIV test, doctors are actually looking for the presence of these antibodies, which confirm that HIV infection has occurred.
If I test negative does that mean that my partner is also HIV negative?
No, your HIV test result only reveals your HIV status. Getting tested for HIV should not be seen as a method to find out if your partner is infected, and testing should never take the place of protecting yourself from HIV.
What if I test HIV Positive?
If you test positive for HIV, you can take immediate steps to protect your health. Early medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well. Prompt medical care may delay the onset of AIDS and prevent some life-threatening conditions. There are a number of important steps you can take immediately to protect your health:
- See a doctor, even if you do not feel sick. Find a doctor who has experience treating HIV. There are now many drugs to treat HIV infection and help you maintain your health.
- Have a tuberculosis test done. Undetected TB can cause serious illnesses, but it can be successfully treated if caught early.
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, or using illegal drugs can weaken your immune system. There are programs available that can help you reduce or stop using these substances.
- Get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Undetected STIs can cause serious health problems. It is also important to practice safe sex behaviors to avoid contracting STIs.
- Contact our positive living programs – click the links below:
Positive Living Program
MSM Positive Living Program