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How Do I Know if I Have HIV?

Most people can not tell that they have been exposed or infected. If you have put yourself of risk of HIV and have been infected, the HIV test won't be able to confirm that you have been infected until around 6-12 weeks after the infection.
Although the HIV test will not show that you are infected straight after exposure, you might have flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, or rash. Look out for these types of symptoms if you have put yourself at risk of HIV infection.

The only way to know for sure if you are infected is take an HIV test. If you are infected, your immune system will make antibodies to fight the virus. The HIV test looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection.

Do I Need to Get Tested for HIV?

It is estimated that more than 25% of HIV+ people are unaware of their HIV status. Many of these people look and feel healthy and do not think they are at risk. You should be tested if:

  • You have had vaginal, or anal sex without a condom
  • You have shared needles or syringes to inject drugs (including steroids or hormones)
  • You are uncertain of your partner's status or your partner is HIV+
  • You are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant
  • You have ever been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease
  • You have hepatitis B or C
  • You have lived in high prevalence countries (sub-Saharan Africa) and have put yourself at risk
  • You have been diagnosed with TB

Why Should I Get Tested?

If you test HIV+ there are effective medications to help you stay well. But you cannot get the health care and treatment you need if you do not know your HIV status. Being unaware of your status also makes it more likely to unknowingly pass HIV to others.

If you test HIV- you can take steps to stay that way. You can also spare yourself unnecessary worrying.

Do you have Symptoms?

If you have symptoms you should get yourself tested to avoid infection developing and from transferring it to someone else.

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