Saturday, April 1, 2023

What Happens After You Test Positive For Hiv

Getting The Test Result

what happens if you test positive for hiv (what is hiv positive)

You’ll usually be told your results in person. The doctor, nurse or health adviser will do another HIV test to confirm the result, assess your current health and refer you to specialist HIV services.

They’ll also talk to you about how you feel and help you think about where you can get support.

The doctor, nurse or health adviser will also talk about safer sex and the importance of using a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex to avoid passing the virus on to a sexual partner.

It’s not unusual to feel shocked and unable to take everything in.

Do not feel you have to remember everything straight away.

You should be given written information, and you can always ask questions of your medical team, a helpline or 1 of the sources of support listed on this page.

Find out as much as you can about HIV, and its treatments and their side effects.

It’ll help you understand the information you’re told about your condition, and help you ask the right questions of the team who provide your care.

Do not rely on information you have heard in the past.

Up-to-date, accurate information is available from national services such as:

Accepting that you’re HIV positive can be the first step in getting on with your life.

“Be honest with yourself,” advises Angela Reynolds from the Terrence Higgins Trust .

“You’ll have this for the rest of your life. But remember that although HIV is not curable, it is treatable.”

  • THT: 0808 802 1221
  • The Sexual Healthline: 0300 123 7123

More On Hiv Testing At Thebodycom

To find out more about HIV testing, we recommend the following articles:

  • Basic Questions and Answers About HIV Testing

In addition, our Q& A experts sometimes address questions about blood donations in our “Ask the Experts” forums. Here are some of those questions and our experts’ responses:

  • Blood Donation NotificationHow long would it take for a blood bank to notify someone if there was something wrong with donated blood?
  • My sister recently tried to donate blood and was denied. She received a letter stating that she was HIV positive. How accurate are the tests that the Red Cross performs? She is getting an HIV test but I would like to know what the accuracy is of their testing is.

Getting A Late Diagnosis

Late diagnosis means that you’ve tested positive for HIV after the virus has already started to damage your immune system. If you’re diagnosed when your CD4 count has dropped below 350 this is considered a late diagnosis.

If youve been diagnosed late your doctor will want you to start treatment straight away unless they need to treat any other conditions you have first.

Treatment protects your immune system and if youre taking it and have an undetectable viral load you cannot pass on HIV.

In 2016, Public Health England reported that 42% of people diagnosed with HIV found out late.

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What If I Need Help Dealing Emotionally With My Diagnosis

A positive diagnosis can be quite a shock. You might begin to question your future and start reliving your past sexual behaviour. This is perfectly normal and its natural for you to start thinking ‘What if?’ and ‘If only’.

It might be worth getting some help with your mental wellbeing and coming to terms with having HIV. You can access counselling with one of our trained counsellors, face- to-face or online. You can also call our helpline, THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 for more immediate support.

Getting Your Hiv Test Results

Where can I get an HIV test?

Most HIV test results are available within a week.

If the test result is negative, you may receive your results within a few days.

If the initial test result is positive, then additional testing to confirm the result needs to be performed in a reference laboratory and this can take up to a week to get a result.

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How Can Hiv Be Tested/checked

Knowing that you are HIV positive is much better for your long-term health because you can start treatment early. With Better2Know, a blood sample is collected from the arm using a catheter or with a finger stick using a lancet.

At selected clinics, you may have access to instant testing, which would allow you to get your results after about 20 minutes. You can also get a Home Sample Collection Kit by visiting our Home STI Tests page.

During A Persons First Visit With A Health Care Provider Is There Time To Ask Questions

  • Because I have HIV, will I eventually get AIDS?
  • What can I do to stay healthy and avoid getting other infections?
  • How can I prevent passing HIV to others?
  • How will HIV treatment affect my lifestyle?
  • How should I tell my partner that I have HIV?
  • Is there any reason to tell my employer and those I work with that I have HIV?
  • Are there support groups for people with HIV?
  • Are there resources available to help me pay for my HIV medicines?

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What Does A Reactive Test Result Mean

A reactive test result is a possible positive result, but means that you will need to go back to test again to confirm this. The healthcare worker will talk you through everything you need to know and help you with any worries that you may have.

You will need to give blood sample, which will then be sent to the lab for testing. At this stage, it’s very important to follow the advice of the healthcare professional.

A Viral Load Test Will Let You Know If You Are Undetectable

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

If youre living with HIV and want to know if youre undetectable, the right test for you is Similar to nucleic acid tests to detect HIV infection, HIV viral load tests measure the number of copies of HIV in a milliliter of your blood. Its recommended that people living with HIV getHIV viral load tests generally every 3 to 6 months, in addition toother lab tests that measure your CD4 count and more.

The bottom line is that if youre living with HIV and have an undetectable viral load, you will still test positive for HIV if you get tested. But, this is expected, and doesnt mean that your treatment is not working or that you arent undetectable. As always, check with your HIV care provider if you have questions about what HIV test is right for you, or what types of tests will give you the answers you need to best care for your health.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation offers a variety of free, confidential sexual health services includingHIV and STI testing,linkage to HIV care,PrEP and more.

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Protect Others From Becoming Hiv

Because you’re HIV-positive, you can give the virus to others, even if you don’t feel sick. This can happen through unprotected sex or by sharing needles. You can protect others by using condoms and clean needles. By doing this, you can also protect yourself from other strains of HIV. Also, don’t donate blood.

If you are a woman, you can spread HIV to your baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. Ask your doctor what you can do to protect your child. Proper treatment has nearly wiped out the spread of infection to newborns in the U.S.

Uninfected sexual partners can take a daily pill called PrEP for extra protection against HIV.

What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Hiv

Signs of an HIV infection may not always be present in the early stages after exposure. If symptoms are present, they can occur in the first four to six weeks following infection and include flu-like illnesses, sore throat and swollen glands. This is usually when your body has begun the seroconversion process. Seroconversion is where your body tries to counteract the virus by producing antibodies.

Following this phase, symptoms can clear for up to 15 years. However, during this time you are still infectious, and the virus is still causing harm to your system. If the infection remains untreated, you will become more susceptible to other infections including bacterial, viral or fungal diseases.

As HIV advances in the body, symptoms of a weakened immune system start to appear.

Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck, groin or armpits.

If you have these symptoms and think that you may have been at risk of HIV at any time, then it is advisable to get tested. You may have been at risk of HIV if you have had any unprotected sex with different partners, shared injecting equipment when using recreational drugs or steroids, or if you have taken a blood transfusion outside of the UK. You can find out more about HIV symptoms here.

Did you know?

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Reducing Hiv Risks From Chemsex And Drug Use

Some people use drugs such as ice , GHB, ecstasy , ketamine and cocaine) to enhance their sexual experiences . Chemsex can make you lose your inhibitions and be risky if you:

  • Inject drugs.
  • Forget to take your HIV medications.
  • Are taking PreP it can be less effective if it is mixed with other drugs.

What Happens If You Test Positive

False Positive on HIV Test: Whats Next?

If you test positive on a rapid test, you will need to get a standard test with a blood draw to confirm the result. If you receive a positive result after taking a standard test, it means that you have HIV.

Its important to know that people with HIV who are diagnosed early and get the right care, treatment and support can live long, healthy and full lives. HIV treatment involves seeing a doctor regularly and taking HIV medication .

The person who gives you your result will talk to you about next steps, including linking you to HIV care and other supports. Your past sex partners and people you have shared drug use equipment with will be told that they may have been exposed to HIV. You can tell these people yourself, or if you prefer public health officials can contact them. Public health will not use your name when talking to these people. You may also be connected to public health workers in your community to help you with care, treatment and other support. If you are not referred to a healthcare provider, an HIV organization may be able to help you find one. HIV organizations can also provide information and counselling and may be able to connect you with other health and social services in your area.

After you are diagnosed with HIV, you can think about how you will prevent passing HIV to others.

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Being Diagnosed With An Opportunistic Infection

You might already feel unwell and many people who receive a late diagnosis are told that they have symptoms of an opportunistic infection.

These are infections which are able to get into your body more easily because your immune system has been weakened. Common opportunistic infections include:

  • tuberculosis
  • Kaposis sarcoma
  • thrush.

Although opportunistic infections can be serious and impact your quality of life, you can work closely with your doctor to find the best combination of medication for you to help your immune system.

HIV medication is very good and although your immune system will already have been harmed, it’s possible to repair a lot of the damage the virus has done if you take care of your health.

Following your medication instructions is especially important if youre diagnosed late.

Transmission From Mother To Child

Mothers can transmit HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery through vaginal fluids. Mothers who have HIV can also transmit the virus on to babies through their breast milk. However, many women who are living with HIV have healthy, HIV-negative babies by getting good prenatal care and regular HIV treatment.

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How Much Do Hiv Tests Cost

Unlike rapid tests, blood tests for HIV are covered by Medicare, which means your doctor can order the test free of charge for you.

If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may also be able to claim some of the testing costs through private health insurance. Check with your provider to see if youre eligible.

How Does Being Durably Undetectable Affect My Risk Of Transmitting Hiv To A Sexual Partner

how accurate is hiv test after 2 weeks ?

People living with HIV who take antiretroviral medications daily as prescribed and who achieve and then maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.

Three large multinational research studies involving couples in which one partner was living with HIV and the other was notHPTN 052, PARTNER and Opposites Attractobserved no HIV transmission to the HIV-negative partner while the partner with HIV had a durably undetectable viral load. These studies followed approximately 3,000 male-female and male-male couples over many years while they did not use condoms. Over the course of the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, couples reported engaging in more than 74,000 condomless episodes of vaginal or anal intercourse.

Learn more about HIV treatment as prevention.

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Do I Still Need To Worry About Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

Neither HIV treatment nor PrEP prevents other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.

Ways to reduce the risk of STIs include having both partners tested, limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms. Vaccines are available to prevent some STIs, including hepatitis B and human papillomavirus .

What If I Still Think I Have Hiv

A few people test many times after one exposure. Even when the results are all negative they refuse to believe the results.

Sometimes the anxiety causes symptoms that someone mistakenly thinks are related to HIV.

In these cases psychological help or counselling from NHS doctors or nurses is more appropriate than further tests.

If you have had more than one test and all results are negative, without any additional exposures, then you do not have HIV.

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What Happens After My Test

If you have had your tests results and the results were positive, these will need to be confirmed.

If confirmed you will be referred to an HIV clinic where a doctor and health advisor will be responsible fo your future care. Information about what to do if your result is positive.

If the results were negative, then you may be told to have a confirmatory test in a few months time.

It is rare for the confirmatory test to be positive, but this is important to rule out late seroconversion.

Tests For Hiv And Aids

You should get tested, regardless of your partner

Blood tests are the most common way to diagnose the human immunodeficiency virus , the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome . These tests look for antibodies to the virus that are present in the blood of infected individuals. People exposed to the virus should get tested immediately.

Early testing is crucial with HIV. If you test positive for the virus, you and your doctor can develop a treatment plan to help fight HIV and ward off complications. Early testing also can alert you to avoid high-risk behavior that could spread the virus to others.

Because it can take from six weeks to six months to develop antibodies to the virus, follow-up tests may be needed. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history and risk factors and perform a physical examination.

The primary tests for diagnosing HIV and AIDs include:

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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Things To Know About Hiv Suppression

A vial of blood

A vial of blood

Development of antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV has turned what was once an almost always fatal infection into a manageable chronic condition. Daily antiretroviral therapy can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to levels that are undetectable with standard tests. Staying on treatment is crucial to keep the virus suppressed. NIAID-supported research has demonstrated that achieving and maintaining a durably undetectable viral load not only preserves the health of the person living with HIV, but also prevents sexual transmission of the virus to an HIV-negative partner.

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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