What is HIV?
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. Over time, HIV gradually weakens the body's ability to fight disease. HIV makes it easier to get many infections and cancers that would not normally occur in a healthy person. HIV is life-threatening.
CONFIDENTIAL HIV TESTING
Confidential antibody testing means that you and the health care provider know your results, which may be recorded in your medical file. Those who are tested confidentially and are found to be infected with HIV are reported to local health officials
Why should I be tested for HIV?
- If you have HIV, your doctor can monitor the damage HIV is doing to your immune system. He or she can help you stay healthy longer AND help you decide the best time to start medical treatment.
- If you are or become pregnant, you can reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby.
- If you know you have HIV, you can protect the person you have sex with from getting infected.
- If you have HIV, it is important to help the people you've had sex with or the people you've shared drugs with to get tested for HIV. A test counselor can also help you decide if your children need to be tested.
- Sometimes married couples have sex with people besides their spouse. If there is a possibility that your spouse has had sex with anyone besides you, whether you know for sure or not, you should get tested for HIV.
- If you had a dental or medical procedure in another county, it may not have been possible to clean equipment that had someone else's blood on it before it was used on you.
- An HIV test can give you peace of mind. It is the only way you can know for sure if you have HIV.
How is HIV passed from person to person?
HIV can be spread in several ways:
- Having sex without a condom
- Sharing drug injection equipment
- Blood transfusions
- Organ transplants
- Sharing razors, toothbrushes, needles for tattooing, or other objects that may have blood on them
- If a mother has HIV, it can be passed to her baby, either at birth or through breastfeeding
What is AIDS?
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the late stage of HIV infection. If a person has AIDS, it means that HIV has caused severe damage to the body's immune system.
You CAN NOT get HIV from:
- Shaking hands
- Sharing eating utensils
- Food or other things touched by people who have HIV or AIDS
- Toilet seats
How can HIV be prevented?
You can choose from this list the things that are right for your situation:
- ABSTAIN from sexual activities
- If you have anal or vaginal sex, use a latex or polyurethane condom. This helps to protect you from HIV, Hepatitis B, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Have sex with only ONE person who does not have HIV and only has sex with you. If the person you have sex with has HIV, ALWAYS use a condom.
- If you are pregnant and have HIV, there is medicine you can take to help protect your baby from the virus.
- Never share drug injection equipment.
How Effective Are Latex Condoms in Preventing HIV?
Latex condoms, when used CORRECTLY, are highly effective in preventing sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive.
The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiological studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected partners.
The most recent meta-analysis of epidemiological studies of condom effectiveness was published by Weller and Davis in 2004. This analysis refines and updates their previous report published in 1999. The analysis demonstrates that the consistent use of latex condoms provides a high degree of protection against heterosexual transmission of HIV.
It should be noted that condom use cannot provide absolute protection against HIV. The surest way to avoid transmission of HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.
What can I expect if I have an HIV Test?
Antibody tests look for antibodies to HIV in a person’s blood or oral fluid. Antibody tests can take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only FDA-approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger stick or with oral fluid.
Antigen/antibody tests look for both HIV antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are produced by a person’s immune system when they’re exposed to viruses like HIV. Antigens are foreign substances that cause a person’s immune system to activate. If a person has HIV, an antigen called p24 is produced before antibodies develop. Antigen/antibody tests are recommended for testing done in labs and are common in the United States. An antigen/antibody test performed by a lab on blood from a vein can usually detect HIV 18 to 45 days after exposure. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger stick. Antigen/antibody tests done with blood from a finger stick can take 18 to 90 days after exposure.
Modoc County HIV Counseling & Testing
Every Monday - Thursday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Rapid HIV Test: 20-40 minutes
Call for an appointment at 530-233-6311