InformationWhat is HIV?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a viral infection which leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a condition in which the immune system begins to fail allowing other infections to become life-threatening.
What are the most common symptoms?
Early symptoms may include fever, rash, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, as well as swollen lymph nodes and glands. The later stage of the infection can produce complications that include weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, secondary infections, cancer, and neurological symptoms including confusion, forgetfulness, depression, and anxiety.
How long does it take to develop symptoms?
The earliest symptoms of HIV can develop between two to four weeks after exposure. However, the majority of people infected may not experience any symptoms at all for months or even years, but can still transmit the disease to others.
How do people get HIV?
HIV is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. However, HIV can also be transmitted by having contact between an open wound and an infected personís blood, i.e. sharing of needles, or receiving tattoos or piercings with non-sterilized equipment, both poses a risk for infection. Pregnant women that are infected can transmit the disease to their unborn baby even to their child through breast feeding.
What is a HIV Test?
An HIV test will require a blood sample to be taken.
Do you offer a Home Test for HIV?
Yes, we currently offer a home test through our partner site under "At Home Tests".
Is testing accurate?
Our contracted laboratory uses the same type of STD tests that you would receive at many doctorís offices and hospitals. However, there is always a remote chance of a false positive or a false negative result.†
A false positive result means the test shows the infection to be present when the person does not have the infection.†
A false negative result means the test shows no sign of infection when the person does have an infection. False negative results can happen if the test is done within the window period (period of time between the day you are infected and when a test can find the infection in your body). The window period for HIV is usually 2 to 8 weeks, but in rare cases it could take up to 6 months.
TreatmentIs HIV curable or treatable?
Currently there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Modern anti-retroviral therapies are prolonging life and can greatly reduce the symptoms of HIV and improve a personís quality of life. There are also many new drugs that are in development or being tested in clinical trials. If HIV is left untreated, it may develop into AIDS within 10-15 years. Treatment options should be discussed with a medical professional as soon as an HIV infection is detected.
PreventionHow can HIV be prevented?
The risk of transmitting the virus may be reduced through the use of latex condoms. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV by around 85%. It is important to note, that spermicide may actually increase the male to female transmission rate due to inflammation of the vagina. Getting tested and treatment early is the best way to prevent the transmission of HIV. In addition, getting tested and treated early in pregnancy will help to prevent the transmission of HIV between a pregnant women and her unborn baby.