Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection - Exams and Tests
Getting tested for
HIV can be scary, but the condition can be managed with treatment. So be sure to get tested if you think you have been exposed. If you test
positive, early detection and monitoring of HIV will help your doctor find out
whether the disease is getting worse and when to start treatment.
Your doctor may recommend counseling before and after HIV testing, and it
is usually available at the hospital or clinic where you will be tested. This
will give you an opportunity to:
Caring for a loved one with AIDS can be an exhausting task, both physically and emotionally. It involves managing the physical and practical aspects of your loved one’s care while struggling with the emotions of seeing someone you care for suffer and fearing the eventual outcome of the disease. It also requires taking care of yourself -- managing the stress of caregiving and keeping yourself healthy -- so you can provide the care your loved one needs.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is...
HIV is diagnosed only after two or more positive ELISA tests are confirmed by one positive Western blot assay. These tests usually can be done on the same blood sample.
It can take as little as 2 weeks or as
long as 6 months from the time you become infected with HIV for the antibodies
to be detected in your blood. This is commonly called the "window period," or
seroconversion period. During the window period, you
are contagious and can spread the virus to others. If you think you have been
exposed to HIV but you test negative for it, you should be tested again. Tests at 6, 12, and 24 weeks can be done to be sure you
are not infected.
Testing positive for HIV infection
positive for HIV will probably make you anxious and afraid about your future.
The good news is that people being treated for HIV are living longer than ever
before with the help of medicines that can often prevent AIDS from developing. Your doctor can help you understand
your condition and how best to treat it.
If you test positive for
HIV, your doctor will complete a
medical history and physical exam. He or she may order
several lab tests to evaluate your overall health condition and identify
current or previous infections that may become more complicated because of HIV.
These tests include: