Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV is important, even before symptoms develop.
You can ask your doctor or someone at your local clinic for a simple, confidential blood test that can determine whether you are HIV positive or not. Remember, it can take up to six months after infection for the HIV antibodies to develop, and the virus can be transmitted even before the development of antibodies.
Why is it important to have the test?
Having the HIV test:
Speak to an HIV counsellor, your doctor or health worker before you have the test to get answers to any questions you may have about HIV or Aids and about the test itself. If you're afraid and worried, the person you speak to will be able to support you and help you handle the results of the test. You may also choose to take a friend or someone you trust with you to support and care for you before and after the test.
If your test is negative
Learn about having safer sex and change your lifestyle to protect yourself and the people close to you in future.
Wait for three months and go for another test. The virus may not show up in the first test.
If your test is positive
You may feel angry, afraid, shocked, depressed or refuse to believe that you have the virus. This is normal. Try not to panic and talk to someone who can help you deal with how you feel. You can still live a long, active and productive life.