The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everybody between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of their routine healthcare.
Get tested more often if you engage in risky behaviors, such as the following:
- Having vaginal, anal and/or oral sex without condoms, or without being on treatment that slows down the HIV virus
- Sharing needles or other drug injection drug equipment
- Having multiple sex partners
- Mixing alcohol and sex
Should I get tested?
The following are questions which people should ask themselves on a regular basis. If you answer YES to any of these questions, be sure to get an HIV test done.
Have you had unprotected sex with someone whose status you didn’t know since your last HIV test?
You should always take an HIV test anytime you feel you have exposed yourself to risk especially if you do not know the status of your sexual partner. Knowing your status put your mind at rest and helps you make informed decision.
Do I have HIV?
The only way you can know your status is by getting tested. Be bold and take a voluntary HIV test today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is HIV spread?
HIV can be found only in certain body fluids such as pre-seminal fluids, semen, vaginal fluids, blood, breast milk, or rectal fluids. The virus can be spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, or by exposure to any of these fluids.
How can I protect my partner who is negative if I am HIV positive?
To help your partner stay negative, ensure that sex is always protected with condoms. Encourage your partner to get tested regularly. Lastly, do not share sharp objects or drug equipment such as syringes, needles etc. with your partner.
Where can I get tested for HIV?
HIV tests can be done in all accredited health facilities, drop-in centers or during community outreaches. Community peer educators around you can provide further assistance to you in locating the safest and most convenient place you can get tested.
Am I at risk when I mix sex with drugs?
Mixing sex with drugs makes one prone to engage in more risky acts, which can lead to the contraction of HIV as well other sexually transmitted infections. Avoid mixing sex with drugs.
Will I become positive if I slept with an HIV positive person without condoms?
While it is difficult to catch HIV, just one exposure can lead to one catching the virus. Whether or not you get infected depends on many factors. Hence, it is always advisable to use condoms with your sexual partners whether you know their status or not.
What is the risk of sex if the HIV positive person is on treatment?
HIV treatment reduces the risk of HIV transmission. If an HIV positive person has an undetectable viral load while on treatment, the risk of transmission becomes close to zero. Remember U=U: undetectable equals to non-transmissible.
How can I learn about ARVs (anti-retroviral drugs)?
Your physician, ART nurse or counsellor can teach you a lot about ARVs. There are also a lot of materials you can read online. Be sure materials you are reading are up to date, and also never hesitate to ask your healthcare provider all questions about ART.
“Taking Antiretroviral Drugs” – WebMD
Antiretrovirals FAQs – Toronto General Hospital
Can I mix ARVs with herbal medicine?
Mixing ARVs with other herbal medicine can lead to severe drug reactions, and will result in complications such as damage to vital organs in your body. Never mix ARVs with herbal medicine.
What happen to my body if I start ARVs, then later stop taking the ARVs for a long period of time?
Stopping ARVs for a long period of time will result in your body building drug resistance. The quantity of HIV in your body increases and your body defense system will break down and become weaker. You will also become exposed to different and severe opportunistic infections that are difficult for your body to resist.
Do I need to take an HIV test if my partner tests negative?
You cannot use your partner’s HIV test result to know your own status. You can only know your HIV status by taking a test yourself. You can test positive to HIV while your partner still tests negative, or vice versa. Knowing your status helps you protect your partner.
Is there a relation between HIV and Tuberculosis (TB)?
Anybody at all can get infected with TB. However, people with HIV and TB infections are at higher risk of getting sick with TB diseases.