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How Long Does It Take To Know Your Hiv Positive

Hiv Testing Outside Of A Health Care Setting Or Lab

Real Question: How Long Does it Take to Test Positive for HIV?

If you get an HIV test outside of a health care setting or lab you will likely receive a rapid HIV test.

  • If the test comes back negative, and you havent had a possible exposure during the previous 3 months, you can be confident you dont have HIV.
  • If your test result is positive, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. Counselors providing the test should be able to answer questions and provide referrals for follow-up testing as well. You can use the locator to find a health center near you.

Learn about the different places where you can get an HIV test.

What Does A Positive Result Mean

You will need a second test to confirm the result. In some countries you will need three tests in total to confirm the result.

If you get a positive result after using a self-test kit you will need to go to a healthcare clinic.

If your final test result is positive, it means you do have HIV. Receiving a positive diagnosis can be a shocking and emotional experience this is completely normal. The healthcare worker will support you and answer any questions that you have.

You can now start treatment straight away which will keep you healthy.

Latency Can Cause A Break In Symptoms

After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition to the clinically latent infection stage. Due to a lack of symptoms in some people, this is also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection.

According to, latency in HIV infection can last up to 10 or 15 years. This means that the virus is replicating much slower than before. But it doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others.

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Calculating Life Expectancy With Hiv Or Aids

Recent research shows that a young person with HIV or AIDS could potentially live almost as long as anyone else in the general population. But this is only the case if they have routine access to health care and respond well to modern antiretroviral treatments . So a 20-year-old who starts on ARTs today, for example, might eventually live to be 67.

Keep in mind though, since there is no known cure, HIV life expectancy varies greatly from one individual to the next based on many things. This includes early detection plus, gender and lifestyle choices such as alcohol, tobacco, or drug use.

Over the past two decades, HIV life expectancy has drastically risen. What was once considered a terminal illness is now a medically manageable condition at any age. Those who abuse intravenous drugs or possess a preexisting immune disorder, however, do not fare as well.

In light of huge disparities in access to health care and ARTs, the CDC regularly publishes reports on obstacles to HIV and AIDS treatment. By 2016, it was estimated that 1.1 million people in the U.S., aged 13 or older, had HIV .

Does Hiv Always Show Up On Testing

Symptoms of HIV

No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:

  • Testing that looks for the virus itself can find HIV 728 days after infection.
  • Testing that looks for HIV antibodies can find HIV antibodies 312 weeks after infection.

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Can You Have Hiv For 20 Years And Not Know

While its common for people with HIV to experience symptoms similar to the flu after a few weeks of the initial infection, some people may experience no symptoms at all during the early stages of HIV.

If a person with HIV goes undiagnosed and the virus develops into stage 2, HIV will continue to develop and may last for 10-15 years without the appropriate HIV testing and treatment . Its important to note that this stage can also bring with it little to no symptoms and people may not even feel sick.

The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. This can be done by visiting your local HIV testing centre, your local doctor, or from home with an at-home lab test. Early detection is crucial to getting prompt treatment and going on to lead both a happy and healthy life.

See also:What is the Treatment for HIV?

Who Are At Risk Of Getting Hiv/aids

  • Persons who have sex without a condom.
  • Persons with many sex partners
  • Persons who have had repeated Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Male and female prostitutes
  • Sexually active homosexual and bisexual males
  • Persons who have sex with someone who is HIV positive
  • Past or present users of needles to inject illicit drugs, e.g. heroine

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Some Practices Dont Reduce Your Risk Of Hiv

Some people use unreliable methods to reduce their risk of HIV. These include:

  • Serosorting choosing your sexual partner based upon them having the same HIV status as you.
  • Strategic positioning where an HIV-negative partner penetrates an HIV-positive partner.
  • Withdrawal when the insertive partner pulls out before ejaculating .

None of these strategies are reliable, so you are at risk of HIV transmission.Having sex only with people who have the same HIV status can be very risky. For example, a person may think they are HIV-negative, but may have been exposed to HIV since their last test, or may never have been tested at all.

Using a combination of proven, reliable strategies like condoms, PrEP, and undetectable viral load is the best way to prevent HIV transmission.

If My Test Is Negative Do I Need Get Tested Again

Know Your Status: A Guide to Taking an HIV Test

Talk to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site to see if you need to get tested again.

Some reasons to get tested again include if you:

  • have sex without a condom
  • are a guy who has sex with other guys
  • have had sex with more than three partners in the past year
  • get an STD
  • are a woman and are pregnant

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What Are The Tests For Detecting Hiv

Various tests may be used for HIV detection:

  • HIV antibody test: This test detects the antibodies produced in the body in response to HIV.
  • Antigen test: This test can be done at an earlier stage than an HIV antibody test. It measures a protein called p24 antigen, present in the virus and produced in high amounts after the infection.
  • Nucleic acid test : It is also called an RNA test. It is a very specific test that looks for the virus itself and can detect HIV as early as about 10 days of infections.
  • In-home test kits: Although less accurate than the laboratory-based tests, home-based kits have the advantage of testing in the privacy and comfort of the home. Only FDA approved home-based kits should be used.
  • Viral culture: This involves using the patients sample and growing the virus in the lab. It takes longer to get the results and is not the most preferred test for HIV.

How Can I Get Tested

To get tested, you can:

  • Ask your doctor to test you.
  • Go to a local clinic or community health center.
  • Go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources to find a testing center near you.
  • Buy a test at a pharmacy and do the test at home.

Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.

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What Happens If I Get A Negative Result

This means that no HIV antibodies were detected. A negative result doesnt always mean that you dont have HIV. Thats because of the window period. If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period to be sure.

If youre sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex.

What Happens If My Test Is Positive

Symptoms of HIV

If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.

A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.

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After Testing Positive For Hiv What Can A Person Expect During Their First Visit With A Health Care Provider

After testing positive for HIV, a persons first visit with a health care provider includes a review of the persons health and medical history, a physical exam, and several lab tests. The health care provider also explains the benefits of HIV treatment and discusses ways to reduce the risk of passing HIV to others.

The information collected during a persons initial visit is used to make decisions about HIV treatment.

You Have Just Received Very Difficult News But You Can Still Have A Healthy Pregnancywe Hope That This Information Helps Answer Some Of Your Questions

What does my result mean?

My HIV Test is Positive Your baby may have been exposed to HIV Your doctor will talk to you about getting medicine to help prevent passing HIV from you to your baby during labor and delivery You will need to have a second test to confirm that you have HIV Your doctor will discuss treatment options for you and your baby, and other services available to you, after delivery

When an HIV positive mom and her baby receive medicine, the risk for the baby getting HIV goes form 25% down to less than 2%

HIV and Pregnancy

Labor and Delivery Go to the hospital as soon as you are in labor or your water breaks. If you are not sure if your water broke or not, call your doctor. If you see blood, go to the hospital or call 911.

Signs of labor include:

Contractions happening every 3-5 minutes Contractions getting stronger or more painful over 2 hours

Passing HIV Infection to Others

HIV can be passed through shared bodily fluids, such as blood or semen . HIV can be spread through unprotected sex and injection drug use. HIV can ALSO spread from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, delivery or from breastfeeding. To protect yourself and your partners, use condoms when having vaginal, anal, or oral sex, even during pregnancy. You could get other sexually transmitted infections that can cause problems with your pregnancy. Dont share items that can pass blood or bodily fluids from one person to another, like a toothbrush, a razor or sex toys.

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Getting A Result Quickly

Many services offer rapid testing, which means a finger-prick test that will give you a result within minutes.

A self testing kit ordered online and done at home will normally give you a result up to 15 minutes, depending on the kit.

A blood sample taken at a testing centre will be sent to a lab, with results ready within a day or up to a week later.

If you use postal testing, the lab will normally contact you a week or so later with your result.

How Do You Get Hiv

10 Facts You Have to Know About HIV/AIDS

HIV infection can occur in the following ways:

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse, especially receptive anal intercourse
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections increase the HIV transmission risk by three times syphilis raises the transmission risk by seven times and genital herpes raises the infection risk by 25 times during an outbreak
  • Sharing IV needles or injections
  • Receiving HIV infected blood products
  • Needle-stick injuries
  • Maternal HIV infection : The risk of transmission can be reduced at birth by practices like cesarean delivery and prenatal antiretroviral therapy in the mother, and antiretroviral therapy in the newborn immediately after birth

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What Is A Window Period

When a person gets infected it may take 6 weeks or up to 3 months before antibodies to HIV are detected in the blood. The HIV test looks for antibodies. When these antibodies are detected the person is diagnosed HIV positive. A person can be positive and the test shows negative because the test was done during the window period.

Early Symptoms In Primary Hiv

The first noticeable stage is primary HIV infection. This stage is also called acute retroviral syndrome , or acute HIV infection.

It usually causes flu-like symptoms, so its possible for someone in this stage to think they have severe flu or another viral illness rather than HIV. Fever is the most common symptom.

Other symptoms include:

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When You Should Take An Hiv Test

What testing service you should use, and which type of test, depends on when you might have been exposed to HIV. Signs of HIV infection dont show up in the blood right away. It normally happens within four weeks of infection, but can be longer.

If you think you might have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours , its possible to take post-exposure prophylaxis to help stop an infection from happening.

If your risk was recent, then your test provider will probably advise you to take a test immediately, followed by a second one a few weeks later. The second test will pick up any infection the first one may have missed.

If your risk was in the last three months, make sure you tell the person testing you, as it may affect the type of test youre given.

A self test is not guaranteed to pick up an infection thats occurred in the previous three months. If you think youve been exposed in the last three months, you should get a test in person.

Very occasionally it can take up to three months for antibodies to appear in the blood, so an HIV negative result is only totally accurate if three months have passed between the test and the last time a risk was taken. However, a negative result four to eight weeks after taking a risk is a very good sign that HIV infection hasnt happened.

Did You Just Test Hiv

¿Cómo puedo saber si tengo VIH?

Submitted on Aug 27, 2021

Para leer esta hoja informativa en español, haga clic aquí.

“HIV is not the end. As a 33-year long-term survivor, I am an example of that. Never let HIV take your life from you continue to fight till the end.”

Getting an HIV diagnosis can be life-changing news. As with other chronic health conditions, people may have many different feelings when they learn they are living with HIV. You may be angry or confused, or other uncomfortable emotions. You may also wonder what you should do next and how this diagnosis will affect your plans for your future.

It may not change how you feel right now, but it is important to mention that people living with HIV can live just as long as anyone else in places where HIV drugs are widely available. Many years of research have shown that, if they are taking HIV drugs that keep the amount of virus in their body very low , a person living with HIV cannot pass on the virus to a sexual partner who is not living with HIV. It is also possible to get pregnant and give birth to a child who does not have HIV. Breastfeeding your infant may be a possibility, as well.

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Useful Articles For People Newly Diagnosed With Hiv

Quick links to related fact sheets or resources by The Well Project for those seeking information on HIV or HIV Treatment:

How Long Do You Have To Wait After Unprotected Sex To Take An Hiv Test

By | Oct. 14, 2010, 11:04 a.m.


how long does it take after u have unprotected sex for u to get tested for hiv? can u get tested right away and know the results? or do u have to wait a certain amount of time.

HIV tests detect antibodies the immune systems response to infection. For the majority of people, HIV testing will be accurate at four to six weeks after possible infection. However, for some people it may take longer up to three months for detectable antibodies to develop. This is called the window period. During the window period, HIV tests can come back negative even though the person has the virus. HIV can be passed to other people during the window period. To make an appointment for HIV testing, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center. Tests are also available from most health care providers, hospitals, and health centers. Local, state, and federal health departments may offer free testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists HIV testing locations and offers information about home testing. The site can also be accessed in Spanish.

Tags:HIV testing, HIV/AIDS, STD testing

Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is a registered 501 nonprofit under EIN 13-1644147. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.

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