HIV Testing-Get the Facts
New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services/Division of HIV/AIDS Services
What is the HIV test? It’s a simple and reliable test shows if you’ve been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
HIV is mainly spread through:
*unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex.
*sharing infected needles or syringes.
HIV is not spread by coughing, touching or other casual contact.
Testing can help you:
*learn how to avoid HIV if you are not infected.
*get proper treatment and avoid spreading HIV to others if you are infected.
Testing is available at many places, including HIV testing centers and health clinics. For more information, contact:
*your local health department.
*the Centers for Disease Control and Preventative (CDC)
*HIV stands for the human immunodeficiency virus. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Who should get tested?
Think about an HIV test: If you or your partner has ever:
*shared needles or syringes (or other drug equipment to inject drugs or for body piercing, tattooing or any other reason.
*had unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
*had sex with other people.
*had certain illness, including TB (tuberculosis) or an SID (sexually transmitted disease).
If you are pregnant (or planning to be), testing is very important, HIV can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby before or during birth or through breastfeeding. (Treatments can help lower the risk).
Please read: Talk to your health care provider! This folder is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health-care provider. The photos in this folder are of models. The models have no relation to the issues presented.
How does HIV testing work?
The test checks for HIV antibodies (the immune system makes these to fight HIV). It does not tell you if you have AIDS.
A sample is taken of blood, urine or oral fluid (from cells in the mouth).
If no HIV antibodies are found, the test is “negative”. Note: In general, it takes about 3 months (up to 6 months in rare cases) for the body to make enough HIV antibodies for the test to detect.
If HIV antibodies are found, the test is “positive”. The sample is then retested to confirm the results.
You’ll receive your results at a later date. (Some testing sites may offer a rapid HIV test. It can give preliminary results during the same visit.) Be sure to find out your test results-whether they are positive or negative. It’s important to know for sure.
What do the results mean?
A counselor will explain what your test results mean. In general:
A negative result does not mean you are immune to HIV.
*You could still be infected if you have been exposed to HIV in the last 6 months. You should get tested again in a few months.
*You can still become infected in the future.
A Positive result (one positive test confirmed by a follow-up test) means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS or will get sick soon, though it is possible.
An indeterminate result means the results were unclear. You will probably need to be tested again.
Choose a testing site that offers counseling before and after the test.
What to do after the test:
If you are positive, work with a supportive, experienced health care provider. Ask about:
*treatments for HIV
*testing and treatment for other STDs and for TB
*healthy diet and exercise
*rest and stress management
Avoid using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
If you test negative, take steps to reduce your choices of getting HIV.
HIV test results are confidential. Without your written permission, only certain people-such as your health-care provider or public health officials-may see the results.
Anonymous testing is also available. Your name is never used. You are the only person who knows the results. Anonymous testing is available at some testing sites and through an FDA-approved home collection test kit. (Do not use any home testing kit that is not FDA-approved).
Protect yourself and others: no matter what your HIV test results!
Not having sex is the only sure way to prevent getting HIV and other STDs through sex.\
If you do have sex, always use a new latex condom. Condoms are not 100% effective. But they can help protect against HIV and other STDs. (Some STDs can be caused by contact with infected areas not covered by a condom.)
Be sure to use a new latex condom properly for each act of vaginal, anal or oral sex. Remember, you can get HIV (and STDs) from anal and oral sex too.
Never share needles or syringes.
If you are infected and become pregnant, treatment can reduce the risk of giving HIV to your baby. Consider an HIV test-and help stop the spread of HIV.
If you have questions about AIDS, call:
New Jersey AIDS/STD Hotline
(All calls are strictly confidential. You do not have to give your name)
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services/Division of HIV/AIDS Services and I give them full credit for this information. Please call them directly for more information.