The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

5 Things To Know Before Taking An HIV Test

African Americans Taking HIV Test
Preparing yourself for taking an HIV test will go a long way toward preparing yourself for the results. Knowing what to expect from the test will make you feel more at ease but will also enable you to understand the process and know what kinds of questions you should ask.

Know what to expect, then take the test and take control of your life.

1. What is the HIV test?

HIV is the abbreviated name for human immunodeficiency virus. The purpose of the HIV test is to detect HIV antibodies in the blood. HIV positive means there is an HIV infection present. HIV virus attacks and breaks down the body’s immune system, making it unable to fight off diseases and infections. The test involves drawing of blood from the arm which is subjected to various tests to determine the presence of HIV infection.

2. Why should an HIV test be done?

HIV testing is recommended for people who are at high risk for HIV infection, those who have HIV infection symptoms, and pregnant women. HIV testing is important not only for diagnosis and treatment of HIV patients but also to prevent the spread of HIV to others.

3. How long does the test take?

It takes between 2 weeks and 6 months for HIV antibodies to appear in the blood. So, testing is usually done at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after exposure to detect any HIV infection.

4. What if the test results are positive?

If HIV antibodies are found, the test is positive. This means HIV infection is present. Patients who test positive need to inform their partner immediately so they can also be tested. In addition, patients need to know that certain states are required to report confirmed cases of HIV infection to the state health department.

5. What treatment is available?

A HIV positive result is not the end. There are treatments available that can prevent the virus from spreading, treat the infection and the side effects, and improve the qualify of life for HIV-positive patients. The FDA has approved more than 25 drugs to treat HIV infection, and researchers continue to develop medications.

Early detection of the HIV virus is critical to prevent further spread of the disease. Many places offer the HIV test for free, including the local health department, public health clinics, and the doctor’s office.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.



SHARE THIS PAGE: